President Xi’s commitment for China to become carbon neutral by 2060 and to peak its emissions before 2030 is a significant step forward in global efforts to address the climate crisis. As the world's largest emitter, China’s pledge is a welcome boost to the ongoing process of countries elevating their climate ambitions in the run up to COP26 in November 2021. It both applies pressure on developed countries that have not yet committed to carbon neutrality and sets the bar for other developing countries.
For China to become carbon neutral, a deep and comprehensive transformation is required across all sectors, especially in the energy sector where coal still makes up more than 60% of power generated. A more detailed roadmap needs to be developed to achieve this goal and the upcoming 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) can lay the foundations for this transition. A key question that the 14th FYP will start to answer is how quickly China’s emissions can peak before 2030, which is of significant importance for global efforts to deliver on the Paris Agreement.
"For now, this announcement provides a clear long-term signal for all actors in China to start taking greater action to accelerate decarbonisation. The Carbon Trust is already supporting a number of Chinese government bodies, corporates and financial institutions to mitigate climate risk and capture the low carbon opportunity. We are looking forward to working with these existing and future partners to contribute to achieving China’s carbon neutral goal as quickly as possible."
Lijian Zhao, China Country Manager, the Carbon Trust