The Chinese Academy of Sciences launched a strategic action plan on Wednesday to help China achieve peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060.
The plan features 18 major objectives ranging from promoting the clean and efficient use of fossil fuel to developing new carbon-capture technologies.
Zhang Tao, vice-president of the academy, told a news conference that fulfilling the two carbon goals will represent a profound socioeconomic revolution affecting numerous fields, including the nation's energy structure, industrial processes, the environment and engineering.
As a result, it is imperative for science workers across multiple disciplines to work together and make technological breakthroughs, he said.
The action plan aims to provide a technical road map for achieving the two carbon goals, spark new theories and ideas on carbon reduction and fixation, create new carbon-cutting technologies for industries, and solve issues related to monitoring, verifying and calculating the capacities of carbon sinks and sources, Zhang said.
Zhang said it is a long-term project that will be updated in accordance with changing needs and international situations.
"CAS is willing to enhance its collaboration with research institutes, government agencies, universities and companies from home and abroad to make the carbon goals a reality," he said.
According to the action plan, by 2025, Chinese scientists aim to achieve breakthroughs in technologies in fields including fossil fuels, renewable energy, nuclear energy and carbon sinks. Key industries will also begin adopting and showcasing low-carbon technologies.
By 2030, China will become one of the world's leading nations in related technologies. Scientists and engineers will also develop comprehensive plans for key industries' transition to low-carbon development.
By 2060, China aims to reach carbon neutrality and become a world leader in carbon-reduction and carbon-capture technologies, with a solid scientific foundation to build a sustainable, safe and efficient energy structure.
Lyu Qinggang, a researcher at the academy's Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, said achieving the carbon goals will require tackling three main fronts: cutting carbon emissions in energy production and energy consumption, and increasing the efficiency of carbon sinks.
This will require innovations in the clean use of fossil fuel, improvements in the production of renewable energy and its integration into the national grid, promoting the use of safe nuclear energy, and creating large-scale energy storage technologies, he said.
Zhang Suojiang, director of the academy's Institute of Process Engineering, said many industries that serve as China's economic pillars are large carbon emitters, such as steel, nonferrous metals, chemicals and construction materials.
It is crucial to use innovations to help those industries become greener and more sustainable, he said.
Yu Guirui, a researcher at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, said terrestrial ecosystems have massive carbon sink potential, and can play a critical role in achieving the carbon goals.
In order to tap into this potential, China will need to increase its ecological restoration efforts, and optimize its natural resources management system, he added.