Beijing’s frank recognition comes as it sets out new targets for lower emissions and clean air and water.
China has a “long way to go” with environmental protection, its State Council acknowledged Sunday, as it announced an “in-depth” fight against pollution with new targets for cleaner air and water and measures to tackle carbon emissions.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, said there had been some improvements in the country’s ecological situation since the launch of its anti-pollution campaign, the state news agency Xinhua reported.
But the Council said it would be difficult to tackle pollution and ensure that carbon emissions peak in 2030 and that carbon neutrality is reached by 2060, as promised by President Xi Jinping.
China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
“The ecological and environmental protection campaign has a long way to go,” the council said in a statement.
China aims to bring the proportion of good water quality in its coastal regions to 79 percent, to eliminate basically severely polluted weather, to effectively control soil pollution risks and to significantly improve the ability to treat solid waste and new pollutants, the Council said. .
The government has also promised to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), released mainly by petroleum and chemical industries, and nitrogen oxides by at least 10 percent by 2025 from 2020 levels, to stop the increase in soil ozone pollution.
It will seek to achieve its ambitious environmental goals without significant disruption to economic and industrial activity and people’s everyday lives, the council said, adding that the environmental struggle will also coordinate with other national actions, including energy and food security campaigns.
The State Council aims to make approximately 93 percent of its contaminated agricultural land suitable for crops by the end of 2025, compared to 90 percent set for the end of 2020, and to reduce heavy metal waste released by key industries by 5 percent from their 2020 levels.
China will focus on key sectors such as energy, steel and transportation in its efforts to curb carbon emissions, he said.
President Xi has faced criticism, including from US President Joe Biden, for not attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
Beijing has also not presented new targets in the non-binding national climate change plans, known as NDCs, which are to be submitted to the UN on a regular basis as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement on tackling climate change.