Can Companies with Production in China Really Claim to Be Climate Neutral by 2040?

By: Thomas Ström 2/10/22

Nowadays, hardly a day goes by without hearing something about sustainability or reducing carbon emissions.
Some companies even claim that their operations will generate zero emissions by 2040.
In some cases, I think that's achievable.
But when global giants with production in China make these claims, I wonder.

The question is whether it's even possible to achieve zero emissions when you produce the majority of your goods in China. This despite the fact that China is currently the country in the world that installs the most solar and wind power plants. Unfortunately, this electricity will not be enough to meet the growing demand for electricity.

This means that China will be heavily dependent on fossile fuels for many years to come.
A China that already has 1,000 coal-fired power stations.
A China that announced at the end of last year that it will build another 43 in 2022.
A China that in 2020 built one new coal-fired power plant a week.
A China where coal mining is going full steam ahead during the current energy crisis across the world.

Add to that China's announcement that it wants to be climate neutral by 2060 and that emissions will peak before 2030.

Does anyone really believe this? Especially given that the dictatorship is currently investing in nearly 100 new coal-fired power plants and ordering massive coal mining in its coal mines. In Inner Mongolia alone, its 70-plus mines are set to increase production by nearly 100 million tonnes.

According to a report from last year, China needs to close at least 600 of its coal-fired power stations over the next decade in order to achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2060. That's not going to happen. On the contrary, it will emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide. From what I have read, that is about 13 to 15 billion tonnes every year for the next ten years, or up to 15% per year above recorded 2015 levels.

Honestly, it's not very likely that the global giants with manufacturing in China will be able to be completely climate neutral by 2040.