China’s top economic agency, the National Development and Reform Committee, has resumed responsibility for the nation’s climate policy planning in a step that could highlight more attention from the central government.
The country’s top leadership has tasked the NDRC with setting out the roadmap for how the country will reach its peak emissions and begin the long process of removing or offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from its industrial and energy sectors, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
It will be impossible for the world to reach its objectives for reducing climate change without significant contributions from China to curb its emissions.
That’s because China is now the world’s leading emitter of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, according to a report cited by the BBC. It’s a title that the US had held for decades and only just relinquished in 2005.
It’s also worth noting that per capita, the US remains the highest emitter of greenhouse gases.
The Biden Administration in the US has already signaled its commitment to push a more climate friendly agenda, although that effort has been stymied by politicians concerned over the economic impacts of climate change mitigation policies.
In China, where the NDRC nearly unilaterally sets energy and industrial policies like establishing subsidies for certain industries and planning the nation’s large-scale infrastructure projects, a renewed focus on climate change could mean billions spent on renewable projects.
Since 2018 the responsibilities for setting the climate agenda in Beijing had been the purview of the nation’s Ministry for the Environment and Ecology. That group will still oversee the carbon market, emissions reporting, and the work China undertakes with governments around the world.
But the big work of winding down China’s massive coal industry and building huge new renewable projects will fall to the NDRC.
The pressure to reduce the use of fossil fuels in industry has already impacted international projects financed by Chinese state-owned enterprises, according to a June report from Bloomberg.