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China and Australia are both taking steps to address climate change, with China reducing emissions and Australia implementing offshore windfarms. These actions show progress in the fight against climate change.

If you are looking for a glimmer of hope regarding the climate crisis before the upcoming Cop28 UN meeting in Dubai this month, consider this: China may be shifting its stance on pollution earlier than anticipated.

2 emissions in China fell by an…

According to Lauri Myllyvirta, a China expert currently working with the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, the amount of CO2 released in China decreased by a significant amount…2

The largest polluting nation is expected to see a decrease in emissions next year and potentially a long-term downward trend.

Although the nation’s emissions have risen this year, it is not surprising since Beijing ended its zero-Covid restrictions at the end of 2022. The significant development is its impressive growth in clean energy infrastructure, which is more than sufficient to keep up with the growing demand.

Construction and authorization of coal-fired power plants continues to grow, however, China has a track record of constructing more than necessary – with its coal-powered fleet operating at less than half capacity. Myllyvirta predicts that there may be a permanent shift underway as clean energy advocacy groups arise to compete with the traditionally influential fossil fuel lobby.

Shortly before the announcement of a joint effort by China and the US to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and speed up the transition away from oil, coal, and gas, his analysis was released. This move is aimed at boosting sluggish global negotiations. The US and China, both major contributors to historical pollution, currently account for approximately 40% of global emissions.

There are many considerations that must be taken into account when interpreting all of this information. China has not openly supported the idea of phasing out fossil fuels, with their top climate representative deeming it unrealistic. Additionally, the US is projected to reach a new high in oil and gas production this year. It should also be noted that this year is on track to be the hottest on record.

The world is experiencing a significant shift towards solar and wind energy, with their proportion of electricity production increasing at a remarkable rate of 14% per year. However, if we want to meet the targets set by the Paris agreement, this progress needs to happen even faster. While this may seem difficult, it is possible to achieve. However, it will not be sufficient without also taking active steps to phase out the use of fossil fuels. According to the World Resources Institute, coal power plants need to be decommissioned at a rate seven times faster than current efforts. Unfortunately, many countries that heavily rely on oil revenue are planning to expand their reliance on fossil fuels instead.

Australia is not the primary contributor to the increase in fatalities caused by fossil fuels, but it has a significant impact. It ranks fifth in terms of coal production and seventh in terms of gas production. The majority of these resources are exported by multinational corporations for minimal local gain.

The Albanese administration is currently working on creating specific decarbonisation strategies for various industries in order to implement policies aimed at decreasing emissions in six key areas: energy, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture and land use, resource management, and buildings. This is a crucial undertaking that will greatly impact the success of these efforts and will be a top priority in the upcoming year. However, there are challenges that need to be addressed in the immediate future.

The government is expected to release data indicating a rise in emissions during Labor’s initial year in office. They may offer explanations, such as the effects of post-Covid-19 lockdowns and the time required for new policies to take effect.

However, it is also a fact that the government has exercised caution and has only implemented the modest policies that were promised during the last election. As a result, various industries that contribute to pollution have not been addressed and, in some instances, have even been supported.

The Labor party must make a greater commitment before the next election, which includes setting a more ambitious target for emissions in 2035 based on sector-specific plans. This task must be accomplished amidst a cost-of-living crisis and decreasing social unity, all while combating the use of false information to undermine efforts towards addressing climate change.

The focus of weaponization has shifted to the one sector in Australia where emissions have significantly decreased: electricity production. Surveys show that people support renewable energy, but the implementation of government policies to reach the goal of 82% renewable energy by 2030 has faced challenges on the ground. A vocal minority opposes the construction of renewable energy infrastructure near their homes.

It is not unexpected that significant progress often faces criticism. However, the unexpectedly strong resistance against constructing new power lines in certain areas of rural Australia has caught authorities by surprise. The Hunter and Illawarra regions of New South Wales have also faced similar opposition to proposed offshore wind zones. This resistance has been fueled by opportunistic arguments from the federal Coalition, which previously supported offshore wind energy while in power but has now changed its stance.

Critics of offshore wind turbines have various objections, including worries that they will harm whales, negatively impact tourism and fishing, alter tides and surfing conditions, and obstruct scenic views. However, aside from concerns about appearance which are subjective, these assertions lack substantial evidence to support them. In other countries, offshore wind has been shown to potentially have some impact on the local area, but can still successfully coexist with marine animals and industries if built with consideration in suitable locations.

It is uncertain if offshore wind energy will have a significant impact in Australia. This technology is costly and has faced setbacks in other countries, while there are more affordable options for renewable energy on land. However, there is an argument that it could provide a dependable source of electricity and contribute to balancing other renewable sources, as well as creating job opportunities in industrial regions.

This discussion still has a lot of ground to cover. Currently, the main lesson to be learned from the controversy surrounding offshore wind is that it serves as a reminder of the immense difficulty of achieving an energy transformation.

Discussions regarding climate goals will lack significance without the backing of the public for the initiatives aimed at achieving them. The worries of the community must be acknowledged and resolved, and individuals in the area must be given authority.

Since there is a significant demand for clean infrastructure, it will be necessary to put in a lot of effort and attention to detail. This responsibility falls not only on governments, but also on companies and advocates advocating for a seamless transition into a cleaner future.

Source: theguardian.com