Sino-German Cooperation
on Biodiversity, Climate and Environment
On behalf of International Climate Initiative (IKI)

China released milestone policies on carbon dioxide peaking and carbon neutrality

On 24 October, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued the “Working Guidance for Carbon Dioxide Peaking and Carbon Neutrality in Full and Faithful Implementation of the New Development Philosophy” (henceforth ‘the Guidance’), which offers an overarching green and low carbon transition guidance for China’s national and international development. This release was followed by the release of the “Action Plan for Carbon Dioxide Peaking Before 2030” (‘the Action Plan’), the overarching “N”, with more concrete and 2030-oriented measures. Further, relevant departments and administrative units will then develop the rest of the “Ns” as the individual implementation plans for peaking carbon dioxide in energy, industry, urban and rural development, transport, agriculture, and rural areas, as well as for specific industries in accordance with the plan. Each region will also draw up its own regional action plan to achieve peaking carbon dioxide in accordance with the requirements of the overarching guidance.  

Source: Unsplash

Key energy-related targets and messages in the Guidance and the Action Plan for China are summarized in table 1 and 2 respectively:

Table 1 Main energy-related targets set in the Guidance and the Action Plan

VisionTargetsTarget YearBaseline YearSpecific TargetsFirstly Announced in
An initial framework for a green, low carbon and circular economy and greatly improved energy efficiency of key industriesEnergy consumption per unit of GDP20252020Reduce by 13.5%14th Five-Year Plan
An initial framework for a green, low carbon and circular economy and greatly improved energy efficiency of key industriesCO2emission per unit of GDP20252020Reduce by 18%14th Five-Year Plan
Significant accomplishments from the comprehensive green transformation in economic and social development, with energy efficiency in key energy-consuming industries reaching advanced international levels.CO2 emission per unit of GDP20302005Reduce by over 65%Climate Ambition Summit in December 2020
Significant accomplishments from the comprehensive green transformation in economic and social development, with energy efficiency in key energy-consuming industries reaching advanced international levels.Share of non-fossil energy consumption in primary energy consumption2030 25%Climate Ambition Summit in December 2020
Significant accomplishments from the comprehensive green transformation in economic and social development, with energy efficiency in key energy-consuming industries reaching advanced international levels.Total installed capacity of wind and solar power2030 >1200GWClimate Ambition Summit in December 2020
China will have fully established a green low-carbon and circular economy and a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system.Share of non-fossil energy consumption in primary energy consumption2060 >80%Mentioned for the first time

Table 2 Significance for the energy sector in the Guidance and the Action Plan

Key AspectsThe Guidance – “1”The Action Plan – the overarching “N”
Fossil energyStrictly controlling fossil energy consumption. The guidance requires strictly controlling coal consumption growth during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, and phase it down during the 15th Five -Year Plan periodPetroleum consumption will reach its peak by 2030Coordinating development of coal-fired power plants, strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, improving energy efficiency and flexibility retrofitting for coal-fired plants, and gradually phasing out bulk coal.More details: Coal:Phase-out outdated coal power capacityAccelerate the transition of coal power plant for flexibility retrofits, heating, and reserve for energy securityEnsure a minimum of 50% RE electricity in transregional transmission corridors   Oil & gas:Promote advanced liquid biofuels and sustainable aviation fuel in substitution for traditional fuel oilsIncrease efficiency of the end-use fuelSteer natural gas consumption by optimizing the usage priority given to meeting public needs
Energy consumptionStrengthen “dual control” of energy intensity and gross energy consumption, with energy saving as the priority. 
Energy efficiencySignificantly improve energy efficiencyEmphasize energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement in all sectorsIncrease energy efficiency in data center and telecommunication infrastructureEnhance the energy management system, especially in energy-intensive industriesAligning to international energy efficiency level, build a portfolio of energy efficiency “top-runner”Raising energy management capacity, including improving online monitoring of key energy consumers, refine energy measurement systems and building stronger supervisory capacityImplementing key energy conservation and carbon reduction projects in urban areas, industrial parks, key industries, and demonstration projects for major technologiesImproving efficiency of major energy-consuming equipment through higher standards, incentive measures and stricter checksStrengthening energy conservation and carbon reduction in new infrastructure: for example, putting all data centers with over 10,000 tons of standard coal-equivalent annually under the energy consumption online monitoring system for key energy consumers and carry out the energy audit.
Non-fossil energyActively develop non-fossil energy on both centralized and distributed scalePrioritize wind and solar power development Orderly develop nuclear energyPromote hydrogen developmentDevelop new electric power systems based on new energy sourcesBoost the capacity of the power grid to take up and accommodate a high proportion of renewable energyTotal installed capacity of wind and solar power will surpass 1200 GW Approximately 40GW of additional hydro-power capacity will be installed during both the 14th and 15th Five-Year Plan periodsSet a reasonable layout and timetable for nuclear construction following a steady pace of construction under the premise of ensuring supply security  
Energy system optimizationDeepening reforms of energy systems and mechanismsPromoting the development of the electricity market,Reforming the power gridAccelerating energy storage and installing new capacity for peak load regulationBy 2025, installed capacity of new types of energy storage will reach 30 gigawatts or moreBy 2030 installed pumped-storage hydro power capacity will reach approximately 120 gigawatts and provincial-level electrical grids will be equipped with peak load response capacity of 5% or more.

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