China's president prioritises food, energy security
China's president Xi Jinping says low-carbon initiatives should not risk energy and food security, according to various reports.
In a January 24 speech to Communist Party leaders, Xi said energy transition goals should not come at the risk of the "normal life" of ordinary people – an indication of a cautious approach to climate change mitigation as China's economy slows. This is a change in direction to Xi's September 2020 announcement that China will "aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality."
Xi said China needs to "overcome the notion of rapid success" and proceed gradually.
"Reducing emissions is not about reducing productivity, and it is not about not emitting at all," Xi said, as quoted by state news agency Xinhua. "We must stick to the overall planning and ensure energy security, industrial supply chain security and food security at the same time as cutting carbon emissions."
With the world's largest population and one of the fastest-growing economies in the past decades, China is the world's top CO2 emitter. However, the country's economy has slowed and energy supply is a major concern after shortages hit manufacturers last year.
Xi also told party leaders that "the gradual withdrawal of traditional energy must be based on the safe and reliable replacement by new energy."