When climate change and global warming are the trending issues of today’s world, the world has urged China and India to fight against global warming.

The world’s eyes are directed towards both countries and their environmental policies, in addition to the unprecedented effects of the phenomenon that have become apparent in recent months in their territories.

The two Asian giants are rapidly growing their economies with coal as their main energy input, thus producing exorbitant C02 figures. 

It has brought as a consequence not only an increase in the indices of environmental pollution around the world but also the fact that the international organization has pointed out the coastal cities of Shanghai and Calcutta as “two of the most vulnerable places” to global warming, being at risk of flooding due to an eventual melting, at a higher rate than the current one, of the Himalayan glaciers.

However, both countries have realized the effects of global warming and have taken measures to fight against it. 

COP26 – Both countries dedicated with different time frame

Both countries dedicated with different time frame
Both countries dedicated with different time frame | Image Credit – Germanwatch eV

China

Xi Jinping’s lack of attendance at the 2021 Climate Summit (COP26), held in Glasgow in early November, led to China’s most important announcements being made before the celebration of the climate summit. 

The chosen scenario has been, once again, the United Nations General Assembly, held at the end of October, this time through a pre-recorded speech, where China has announced the commitment to stop financing coal plants abroad.

A year earlier, China chose that exact scenario to announce the historic commitment to reach the peak of carbon emissions in 2030 and its neutrality in 2060.

These ambitious targets mean China will achieve the largest carbon intensity reduction in the world and achieve carbon neutrality after a peak in the shortest time in world history.

Likewise, the message sent by Xi affirms that in the following years, his country will successively publish plans for the implementation of measures aimed at reducing emissions in priority areas such as energy, construction, transportation, among others. 

In addition, these measures will be accompanied by actions for the development of science and technology, fiscal, tax, and financial reforms.

India

Narendra Modi in UN climate change conference
Narendra Modi in UN climate change conference | Image Credit – Flickr

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India set a goal for his country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2070, which is much later than in many other countries. 

According to BBC, India is resisting the establishment of common targets for reducing emissions, saying that industrialized countries should do more in this direction, as they have made a much larger contribution to global warming.

India said an emission intensity target, which measures emissions per unit of economic growth, is a fairer way of assessing the country’s role in climate change. 

Modi said India will cut its economy’s emissions intensity by 45% by 2030 (this applies to all greenhouse gases, not just CO2) – a more ambitious target than the previous target of 33-35% reduction in emission intensity compared to the 2005 year.

The Prime Minister of India has pledged that India will increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. At present, it is about 157 GW.

India has also refrained from signing a global agreement to reduce methane emissions, concluded at COP26.

Coal Consumption – Common scenario and Common Stand

Coal mining
Coal mining | Image Credit – Pixabay

Both India and China have defended the future of coal at the Glasgow climate summit. Coal mines in China and India have been ramping up production. 

China and India currently mine a total of 14 million tons of the dirtiest fossil fuels per day. Coal not only continues to be critical to their current energy needs, but it looks set to play a role in the coming decades. 

And this is even as the two Asian giants are installing huge amounts of renewable energy sources and are pursuing goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead of phasing out coal power, both nations have agreed to decrease its use gradually.

China

Mining companies in China have surpassed the government’s plan to increase production to 12 million tons per day, while daily production in India is approaching 2 million tons.

It accounted for about 62% of electricity generation in China last year. President Xi Jinping has set a goal for the country to reach peak fuel consumption in 2025 and is aiming for non-fossil energy sources to exceed 80% of their total by 2060.

India

The Indian government predicts that coal-fired power will grow to 267 gigawatts by 2030 from 208 gigawatts now. 

Typically, new coal-fired power plants are expected to operate for at least 30 years, reinforcing the role of fuel in the global energy mix beyond mid-century.

During the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in Glasgow in November, the Indian delegation took a firm stand on coal and fossil fuels.

It insisted that the wording in the summit’s final statement be relaxed from the requirement to accelerate the complete phase-out of coal and fossil fuel derivatives by the “reduction” of coal use. 

For this, India has been criticized by a number of Western countries. The head of COP26, Alok Sharma, even said that India and China, which supported it, would need to explain their point of view. 

Fight Against Deforestation

Fight against deforestation
Fight against deforestation | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

China

The Chinese government has been campaigning for more than 30 years to restore and develop forests in China. Beijing also wants to raise public awareness of the importance of forests and environmental protection. 

Currently, Chongqing City (Central China) has become a pioneer in the reforestation of deforested forests. In 1980, the city’s forest cover was only eight percent (less than 24 square kilometers). 

In 1997, it was up to 20 percent, and in 2007 – up to 33 percent. By 2020, the forest area has reached almost 50 percent. Protecting the environment and restoring damaged ecosystems play an important role in China’s climate policy.

The region in northwest China has invested 19.5 billion yuan (about $ 3.02 billion) in the ecological restoration and sustainable development of the Qilian Mountains since 2017, Xinhua News Agency reported on September 6, according to the government of China’s Gansu Province.

This money has been used in areas such as pasture protection, wetland protection, soil and water conservation, glacier protection, and reforestation and environmental management for the mining industry.

The local civilization once severely damaged the ecological environment of the mountains due to such serious problems as overexploitation of fossil resources, illegal construction and operation of hydroelectric power plants, and excessive emissions from local industries.

According to the Qilian Mountain Water and Forest Conservation Research Institute monitoring data, restoration projects have yielded fruitful results by effectively monitoring human activities in protected areas and adequately repairing the damaged regions.

Reforestation Program of China

Chinese authorities have carried out a gigantic reforestation program for two decades. Despite the serious, well-known, and undeniable environmental problems that plague the most populous country in the world, China is gradually recovering the green as deforestation advances in other parts of the globe.

China was a practically arid country in the early 1990s, with a forest area that barely reached 17% of its total area

Authorities responded to these crises with the approval of major conservation and reforestation plans, some of which remain in force. 

These are massive tree-planting campaigns (both by hand and through aerial planting), the closure of protected areas to facilitate the regeneration of forests and jungles or the conversion of agricultural land into forest. 

In the past decade alone, China spent 100 billion dollars on these reforestation programs, including payments to farmers and companies whose logging activities have been restricted.

According to data from the country’s Forestry Administration, since the beginning of the century, an average of 50,000 square kilometers of forest cover have been recovered each year, an area similar to that of Aragon. 

The forest mass has grown to 22.5% of the total, an increase of more than seven percentage points in just thirty years. No other nation in the world has seen a reversal of forest loss and degradation of this magnitude in such a short time. 

These data provided by the Chinese government are supported by independent studies carried out from satellite images.

In 1978 the Chinese government launched the Great Green Wall project, a national ecological engineering effort that required planting millions of trees along China’s northern border. 

4,500 kilometers long of the encroaching desert, at the same time that the planet’s forest area would increase by 10 percent. The Great Green Wall project has a completion date of 2050. More than 66 billion plants have been planted so far.

India

Since 1980, the forests of India have been legally protected from logging, but in fact, people destroyed them almost completely earlier in favor of cities and farmland. 

India has pledged to have one-third of its total area, or 95 million hectares, under forest and tree cover by 2030. The government has allocated $6.2 billion to plant trees across the country. 

Forest today covers 20% of India’s territory, and it is legally protected from logging. According to the FAO, this policy is working: deforestation has not risen above 0.4% between 1990 and 2015. 

In particular, the population of Mumbai is busy saving the disappearing mangrove forests, which are responsible for the environment and, importantly, are a natural barrier to rising sea levels, or, in other words, protecting local residents from floods. 

The latest trend is the restoration of mangrove forests. Every month, volunteers in groups of 20 people clean up areas of former forests and plant new trees to restore the ecosystem. Volunteers have already planted 55,000 trees.

Reforestation Programs in India

In the Indian case, the reforestation program is part of a commitment signed in the Bonn Challenge, signed in 2011 in Germany with the help of NGOs and the private sector. 

The country, the third-largest emitter of CO2, has already achieved 75% of the reforestation target

The NASA study estimates that Indians have increased their vegetation cover, but mostly (82%) thanks to plantations and agribusiness. Forests account for only 4%.

To increase forest area in the country, on July 11, 2021, India launched an annual tree-planting campaign. In a single day, volunteers planted more than 250 million seedlings in the country’s most populous state. 

Uttar Pradesh state government officials, lawmakers, and activists led the campaign to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Volunteers planted the seedlings in forests, farms, schools, and along riverbanks and highways.

In 2016 in just 24 hours, nearly 800,000 volunteers planted 49.3 million trees of 80 different species in Uttar Pradesh.

A year later, in 2017, the feat repeated in the state of Madhya Pradesh, but this time in less time: in 12 hours, more than 66 million trees of 24 different species were planted with the help of 1.5 million volunteers from 24 districts, setting a new Guinness record for reforestation.

During that same year, different states joined the reforestation campaign. Kerala planted close to 10 million trees, and Maharashtra has planted close to 40 million.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources
Renewable energy sources | Image Credit – Pixabay

China

China has already emerged as a worldwide leader in renewable energy production numbers. It is currently the world’s largest wind and solar energy producer and the largest domestic and foreign investor in renewable energy. 

Four of the world’s five largest renewable energy deals were made by Chinese companies. Of the 6 largest solar module manufacturing companies in the world, China owns five of them; in addition, it is the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.

By 2030, China predicts that one-fifth of the country’s electricity consumption will come from renewable energy. 

According to the International Energy Agency, 36% and 40% of the world’s solar and wind energy growth will come from China over the next 5 years. 

The deployment of renewable energy is also part of a larger effort within China to develop an ecological civilization, an inter-industry approach to reducing the level of pollution and fossil fuel use, mitigating climate change, and improving energy efficiency.

China has three times more renewable energy capacity than any other country, and the use of electric vehicles is growing. In 2019, about half of the world’s electric vehicles and 98% of electric buses were in China.

Overall, China achieved nine out of 15 quantitative targets in its 2015 climate commitments ahead of schedule. In the last decade, coal has dropped from around 70% to 57% of its energy consumption.

In September 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping indicated that China would stop financing coal-fired power plants abroad. That will likely lead to the cancellation of much of the 65 gigawatts of coal plants he planned in Asia, nearly three times Bangladesh’s annual emissions. 

And unlike the US, China has also established a national emissions trading system for the electricity sector, although it does not have a hard cap on emissions.

India

India is one of the emerging countries that are most committed to sustainable projects for energy generation. In recent years, projects for the use of renewable energy sources in the country have received successive investments from the private sector.

India will have 57% of its energy generated from renewable sources by 2027, nearly half more than the 40% it had pledged by 2030 during the Paris global climate agreement.

The plans also indicate that India will not need new coal plants to meet its energy demand until 2027. 

To achieve these goals in the use of renewable energy sources, India’s energy minister, Piyush Goyal, has enlisted the help of rich nations to provide the necessary capital for investment in these sustainable projects.

One of the help is received from the Japanese multinational Softbank, which has committed to invest US$20 billion in the Indian solar sector, together with the Taiwanese company Foxconn and the Indian business group Bharti Enterprises. 

The French energy company EDF also announced that it would invest US$2 billion in projects to use renewable energy sources in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a project (Saubhagya) to electrify every home in India and India’s National Electricity Plan to expand renewable-generated capacity five-fold to 258 GW by 2022. 

The 2030 target is even more ambitious and aims to make India a country with a high proportion of renewable energy in all aspects of the economy.

Clean Energy Production

Smart city with clean energy production
Smart city with clean energy production | Image Credit – Pixabay

China

In order to diversify its energy source and reduce dependence on fossil sources, especially coal and oil, which is one of the major imports, China has developed technology to obtain renewable energy, especially solar energy and wind.

The country is already the world leader in the manufacture of photovoltaic cells, which are used to obtain solar energy. 

Chinese technological advances in the sector are changing the incentives for foreign companies to invest in the country. In recent years, China has lowered the gap with Western nations in developing key solar panel components. 

Trina, a Chinese company and the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, has broken the world record for multicrystalline silicon solar cell efficiency.

China is also the greatest producer of wind turbines, surpassing the United States, Japan, and Australia, which were pioneers in the development of these technologies.

In order to reach this level, the nation has invested heavily in clean energy. It is estimated that in 2016 more than 32 billion dollars was invested in this sector, against 18 billion in the United States. 

One of the major projects is in Solar Valley, located in the city of Dezhou, whose investment was approximately 750 million. It is considered the world’s largest solar energy production station.

India

The Indian government plans to increase wind and solar generation capacity to 175 GW by 2022, and by 2030, the goal is to achieve 450 GW from these sectors. 

It will mean a 20% year-over-year growth in the country’s wind and solar energy between 2022 and 2030.

India’s solar and wind boom has seen costs decrease from 12 cents per kW/h to just 4 cents per kW/h (becoming cheaper than using coal). 

The country intends to replace 770 million public and domestic lighting with LED lighting (more economical and more accessible). The business model used is the so-called Energy Service Company (ESCO) which generates revenue from the energy costs it manages to save for customers.

India has been a pioneer in the use of decentralized renewable energy (DRE). The Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN) report, based on partial data for the 2016-17 fiscal year, showed that the DRE sector deployed 3.6 million solar panels, 92,000 solar home systems, 206 mini-grids, and 144 productive use projects.

Indian energy company, Adani’s Carmichael, opened the world’s largest solar plant in the city of Tamil Nadu. Energy conglomerate Tata announced that it intends to generate around 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Electric cars are the next big leap for India. With Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd plans to increase its electric vehicle manufacturing capacity to 5,000 units per month and upgrade the electric charging infrastructure.

India already has a city running on 100% renewable energy. In the territory of Daman, the city of Diu has generated 13 megawatts of electricity from solar power generation facilities (about 3 MW are generated by rooftop solar plants and 10 MW by other plants). In just 3 years, Diu became 100% renewable.

Green Hydrogen Production

Green hydrogen production
Green hydrogen production | Image Credit –
Annie Spratt

China

China’s Inner Mongolia region has approved a major project that will use solar and wind power to produce green hydrogen

A group of plants in the cities of Ordos and Baotou will use 370 megawatts of wind and 1.85 gigawatts of solar power to produce 66,900 tonnes of green hydrogen a year. Hydrogen Energy Industry Promotion Association said in a report by Bloomberg agency. 

The association said that development and projects are expected to be operational by mid-2023 without specifying cost or developers.

According to Bloomberg, the project, which would produce enough hydrogen to displace about 180 million gallons of gasoline per year if used for fuel cell vehicles, is the largest ever led by the government.

The forecast is that less than 20% of the energy from the Inner Mongolia initiative will go to the electrical grid, and the rest will be dedicated to green hydrogen. 

While several projects announced in China combine renewables with green hydrogen, most aimed to generate electricity first.

China’s biggest green hydrogen projects so far have come from industrial giants such as Sinopec or Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group, which is expected to complete a 150-megawatt solar-powered electrolyzer at one of its coal-to-chemical plants.

India

India has a new focus, green hydrogen, thus emphasizing the need for energy independence; Prime Minister Modi announced the plan to make India a global center for producing and exporting clean hydrogen. 

India is considering a mandatory purchase of green hydrogen for fertilizer plants and refineries as part of plans to decrease the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. 

Modi said green hydrogen is the biggest goal to help India take the quantum leap. The country’s strategy will be to scale up its ambitious clean hydrogen plan, similar to its renewable energy program, leading to the largest clean energy program in the world.

The government plans to implement the Greenhouse Hydrogen Consumption Commitment in fertilizer and oil refining, similar to what it did with the Renewable Energy Purchase Commitment (RPO). 

From April 2023, state-owned oil refining and fertilizer companies will also be required to use green hydrogen to cover their energy needs. With this step, India is trying to start the development of the use of green hydrogen in the country.

India’s total hydrogen demand is expected to reach 11.7 Mt by 2029-2030 from the current 6.7 Mt to 28 million tons by 2050. 

So far, India has received a boost in that direction after Fusion Fuel Green and BGR Energy Systems signed an agreement to set up production plants for the fuel in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Plastic Ban

Plastics ban
Plastics ban | Image Credit – Flickr

China

In China, single-use plastic straws are disappearing as the first phase of its strictest ban on plastic comes into force from 2021. 

In January 2020, China released an ambitious new plan that included a step-by-step timeline to ban or significantly reduce the use of plastic over the next five years. 

For example, by the end of 2022, major provinces and cities will ban the use of non-degradable plastic packaging and woven single-use plastic bags in postal and express delivery services. 

By the end of 2025, this will also affect trading companies throughout the country. The use of non-degradable packaging tape will also be prohibited.

The new plan also places restrictions on the use of other single-use, non-degradable plastic items, including cutlery for takeaway food. 

By 2025, China is expected to be able to control plastic pollution effectively, significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills in major cities, establish a complete plastic management system, and make progress in the production of alternative products.

India

India produces 26 thousand tons of plastic waste daily (60% is recycled), and by 2022 it intends to introduce a complete ban on the use of single-use plastic, as the country’s recycling system is underdeveloped. 

Twenty-five of India’s 29 states already have full or partial bans in place. This law’s violation or disobedience is punishable by up to three months in prison. 

In addition, special police units operate on the streets of Mumbai, responsible specifically for suppressing the use and sale of plastic on the streets of the city. 

The so-called “Blue Squad” of the Indian police can issue a fine not only for the sale of goods in plastic packaging on the streets of the city but even for the use of a disposable plastic bottle by an individual. By law, anyone using a plastic cup or glass can face jail time. 

It is noteworthy that the usual plastic straws in Indian McDonald’s and Starbucks have been replaced with similar ones made from biodegradable materials. 

There is no disposable plastic tableware in India- disposable cutlery is made of wood. Hindus not only ban plastic but actively recycle it. 

Indian scientists proposed the technology for creating roads from plastic: roads are laid out entirely of plastic, or composite materials using plastic are used in laying. It is important that the technology completely eliminates the use of conventional asphalt concrete.

Conclusion

China and India are currently the most developing countries targeting strong economic growth. They are also the greatest greenhouse gas emitters and coal consumers on the way to development. At COP26, both nations stood firmly against the complete phase-out of coal. Instead, they proposed gradual reduction of coal usage.

Right now, they are appearing as fierce competitors and going through a kind of cold war after the recent border dispute. But both nations are also contributing to the fight against global warming and playing a significant role in climate conservation. 

In order to fulfill the climate change and global warming targets, both nations should work hand in hand. 

Comparison Table of China and India Actions on Global Warming

TermsChinaIndia
COP26Carbon Neutrality by 2060Reduce Greenhouse gas emission to zero by 2070
Coal12 million tons coal production per day
Against complete phase out of coal usageAgreed on gradual reduction of coal use
2 million coal production per day
Against complete phase out of coal usageAgreed on gradual reduction of coal use
Reforestation Massive tree-planting campaign by hand and by aerial

50,000 sq km forest area recovered per year
Great Green Wall project launched since 1978


66 billion trees planted so far
Annual tree-planting campaign started from 206 led by Uttar Pradesh (UP)
8, 00,000 volunteers planted 49.3 million trees in UP in 2016
1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million trees within 12 hours  in Madhya Pradesh in 2017
Set new Guinness Record for reforestation
Renewable EnergyGlobal Leader in solar and wind energy
4 renewable energy deals


5 largest solar module manufacturing companies
Will generate one fifth of electricity from renewable sources by 2030`
Emerging power in solar and wind energy
Saubhagya Project to electrify home in India through renewable energy




Will generate 57% energy from renewable sources by 2027
Solar EnergyTrina Chinese Company is the world’s largest solar panel manufacturing company
Solar Valley of Dezhou is the world’s largest solar energy production station
Adani’s Carmichael opened world’s largest solar plant in Tamil Nadu

Diu city of Daman is running 100% on renewable energy
Plastic ban Ban on Single use plastic
By 2025- ban on non- degradable plastic packaging
By 2022- complete ban on single use plastic

Ankur Pradhan holds a bachelor’s degree in education and health and three years of content writing experience. Addicted to online creative writing, she puts some of what she feels inside her stormy heart on paper. She loves nature, so she is trying to motivate people to switch to alternative energy sources through her articles.