Re Barbara Finamore’s article (What China’s plan for net-zero emissions by 2060 means for the climate, 5 October), it would be a mistake to get too excited about China’s announcement of carbon neutrality by 2060.
First, the date is far too late to limit global warming to 2C, let alone 1.5C. Reductions of 7.6% are required every year of the coming decade if we wish to stay within the 1.5C limit: China is planning to increase its emissions over the same period. They may now peak before 2030, but this is small comfort as China already contributes 28% of global carbon emissions.
Second, China’s Belt and Road Initiative is exporting an energy programme that relies on coal-fired power stations, with more than 300 planned or under construction.
Finally, it is looking increasingly inappropriate to define China as a developing nation, since emissions of carbon dioxide per capita already exceed that of the UK (7.0 versus 5.8 tonnes per year using the production-based emissions published by the Global Carbon Project).
The truth is that President Xi has picked a date out of the air that is far enough into the future that it allows China to continue with business as usual for at least another decade, if not longer.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet
• Boris Johnson pledges that offshore turbines will make Britain a world leader in clean energy (Report, 5 October). Great, but we may have some catching up to do when, according to Barbara Finamore, China is by far the largest investor, producer and consumer of renewable energy. Maybe, however, we are in with a chance: as the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of armaments we clearly have considerable transferable resources.
• You can’t imagine how reassuring it was to read that your open, independent environmental journalism will continue reporting, analysing and galvanising protest and resistance, and especially putting pressure on government and industry to make changes (The Guardian’s climate promise: we will keep raising the alarm, 5 October). Knowing that your journalists are committed to making change gives some hope at a time when it would be all too easy to give way to despair.