Viewpoints

China’s Decarbonization Goal Won’t Dent its Appetite for Commodities Any Time Soon

China expected to boost demand for some commodities as it transitions to a carbon-neutral economy.

China has established ambitious goals to achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. The country is currently the world’s largest carbon emitter, contributing nearly 30% of the global total in 2019, although its per capita CO₂ emissions are only half those of the U.S. China’s intent to double GDP by 2035 and further increase urbanization only add to the challenge. The country will need to aggressively lower its carbon intensity, measured as emissions per unit of GDP, to meet its 2030 peak emissions target.

That will be difficult because energy-intensive and highly polluting manufacturing has driven China’s rapid growth since Beijing joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001. The country relies heavily on coal, which is more carbon-intensive than most energy sources.

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The Author

Carol Liao

China Economist

Stephen Chang

Portfolio Manager, Asia

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