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Challenges toward carbon neutrality in China: Strategies and countermeasures
Resources, Conservation and Recycling  (IF10.204),  Pub Date : 2021-10-07, DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105959
Xin Zhao, Xiaowei Ma, Boyang Chen, Yuping Shang, Malin Song

In response to climate change, the Chinese government has set a clear goal to reach its carbon peak by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, endeavoring to gradually realize net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This paper explores the concept of carbon neutrality and makes a comparative analysis of the gap between China, the European Union, and the United States vis-à-vis carbon neutrality based on international data. The main challenges China faces in its progress toward carbon neutrality are the following: first, China's energy consumption and CO2 emissions continue to increase, while its carbon peak has not yet been reached; second, carbon emission reduction in China is an arduous process, as the transition period allowed for the country to transition from its carbon peak to carbon neutrality is shorter than that of developed countries; third, China remains reliant on high-carbon fossil energy, with high energy consumption and low energy utilization efficiency; fourth, China's low level of economic development, compared with those of the EU, the US, or other developed countries, makes it relatively weak to withstand economic risks; and fifth, China's low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies are not mature. Therefore, this paper posits a three-stage/four-step strategy as well as seven specific suggestions that could benefit China's progress toward carbon neutrality.