More than 130 countries have set or are considering a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Achieving net-zero on a global scale, however, requires $125 trillion in climate investment by 2050, according to research commissioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
While that level of investment hasn’t been achieved yet, it’s ramping up. In 2021, the world spent $755 billion on deploying low-carbon energy technologies, up 27% from the year prior.
This graphic highlights the top 10 countries by low-carbon energy investment in 2021 using data from BloombergNEF.
Nowadays many Chinese misunderstand the COVID-19 situation outside China and are growingly fatigued with China’s zero-COVID policy. So there is a variety of confusion in public opinion.
Those people can’t see the painful process - developed countries in fact had no alternative. 850,000 people died in a major power like the United States, which paid a huge economic and social price. The number is still rising. It is the vulnerable groups in American society that have died: people of color, the elderly, and the impoverished. They sacrificed their lives in paving the way for herd immunity.
China has a population four times that of the United States. In China, the underlying respiratory diseases are serious. In terms of medical resources, China trails substantially behind the United States, with only one-tenth of the number of beds in intensive care units. In China, medical resources are concentrated in first-tier/economically developed cities, and the population is older (the elderly live with the next generation and rely on each other).
If China adopted the U.S. model, I believe the death rate would be ten times higher, if not more. If it were ten times more, that would be more than ten million deaths. And this is just the number of deaths caused directly by COVID-19. Exhaustion of medical resources would result in untold casualties. In that case, no one would know how many miscarriages and heart attacks there would be. That would be China’s version of the Black Death, a catastrophe of the nation.
China’s tumultuous recent past has had profound effects on Chinese family life that are going to change the country’s future.
A 14-year-old girl, whom I’ll call Clover, was referred for therapy because she had formed a suicide club in her school, where her mother also taught. She was cutting on her arms, failing academically, and spending sleepless nights on her phone with classmates. Her mother also suffered acute “loss of face” because her fellow teachers all knew about Clover’s suicidal thoughts, while she did not. Clover’s maternal grandparents, who lived with the family, had both been teachers. They showered her with love, but also tutored her every afternoon and held high expectations for her academic performance at a school where all the kids were expected to go to a prestigious college like Peking University.