China's push puts end of fossil fuels in sight

President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping, in front of an American flag and Chinese flag.
26 September 2020

With a single shock announcement at the United Nations this week, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has brought the end of the fossil fuel era into view and left Australia further isolated on its climate policy, says a former director at the Australian Department of Defence, now working at the Climate Council.

“The writing [for fossil fuels] is on the Great Wall,” says Cheryl Durrant, a former director of preparedness and mobilisation at the ADD.

Xi at the UN General Assembly spoke of a "green revolution" and committed his nation, the world’s largest carbon emitter, to reaching net-zero emissions by 2060.

Looking over recent events in China, Xi's direction makes great sense, says Durrant, a councillor with the Climate Council.

Since June flooding in China has hit 27 provinces killing at least 219, leaving 4 million in need of evacuation and costing the economy $US25 billion ($35 billion) according to The Lancet Planetary Health journal. Experts attribute increased rainfall and flooding to climate change, which they also blame for increased water insecurity in China, in large part due to retreating glaciers in the Himalayas.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring commentary by Prof Will Steffen