On 3 November 2020, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) issued proposals on formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Term Vision Objectives Through to the Year 2035. The proposals also related to energy transition and low carbon development.
Low Carbon Development in the Proposal for the 14th Five-Year Plan
The proposal document also recommends acceleration in the promotion of green and low-carbon development, including formulating an action plan for peaking before 2030 and considering provincial peaking targets in the national environmental inspection system, but also to further develop green finance, support green technology innovation, and promoting clean manufacturing.
Likewise, the document recommends a continuous improvement of environmental quality and optimizations in the field of ecosystems through large-scale biodiversity projects, protection, and management of large rivers, lakes, and wetlands, but also by improving the public’s perception of ecology and environmental protection. Another aspect is the comprehensive improvement of efficiency in resource use. Water conservation projects are to be implemented, but also waste reduction and waste reuse are to be promoted.
In the 14th FYP, a special focus should be placed on binding climate targets. These include targets on carbon intensity, the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, carbon capacity, forest area, reduction of particulate matter, and a reduction in CO2 emissions per unit of GDP. Following the overarching FYP, there will be a climate FYP prepared by MEE for the first time.
China has set a national goal on carbon intensity reduction already within the first NDC, and locals will be inspected against their carbon emission peak pledges: In a news conference on October 28, Mr.LI Gao, head of climate change department at MEE, said the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period is key for China’s climate efforts as the country eyes new targets to reach its carbon emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
The ministry and other relevant government bodies will make concerted efforts to help different regions establish road maps, action plans, and supporting policies so they can hit their carbon emissions peaks. Relevant carbon peaking actions will be incorporated into the Central Environmental Inspection Program, and examinations will be rolled out on the progress of different regions in reaching carbon emission peaks, Li added. This is also echoed with CCICED’s policy recommendation to China’s leadership in 2020 when CCICED proposes that “it will be necessary to mainstream climate resilience into national/local government planning and budgets, accelerate a national carbon pricing system and incorporate climate indicators into the Central Environmental Inspection Program.” More Information (CHN). And Here (ENG).
Energy Transition in the Proposal for the 14th Five-Year Plan
The energy sector is required to secure power, oil, and gas infrastructures, to formulate an action plan for peaking carbon emissions in 2030, and to support qualified regions to take the lead in peaking carbon emissions. By 2035, China would have to establish green production approaches, carbon emissions are to decrease steadily after reaching its peak. The proposal also calls for optimizing energy resource allocation, increasing utilization efficiency. Moreover, it encourages the merger and reorganization of small companies in the renewable energy and new energy vehicle sector with the stated objective of preventing excessive competition among small enterprises. Regarding infrastructure, the proposal aims for optimizing the layout of power generation assets and power transmission channels, improve the capacity of renewable energy consumption and storage, and enhance the ability of power transmission and distribution in remote areas. In addition, the government vowed to continue to promote market-based reforms in the competitive sectors of the energy industry.
China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) aims to integrate these goals into the 14th Five-Year Plan for Climate Change, which would serve as a more specific implementation roadmap. As the MEE governs carbon emission sources, the 2030 climate goal is of great significance for the energy sector, which will need to undergo a low-carbon energy transition.
To this end, the 14th Five-Year Plan on Energy will play an at least equally important role as it breaks down the general Five-Year Plan goals into more specific targets and actions. In preparation for this important and guiding document, the NEA called for comments by the public on seven thematic fields in November:
- Guarantee of energy security. Diversified energy supply, establishment of a system for integrated energy production, supply, storage and sale, clean and efficient energy development, energy infrastructure construction and safety, etc.
- Energy green and low-carbon development. Support the interim goals and tasks of “striving to reach the peak of CO2 emission by 2030”, clean, low-carbon and safe and efficient use of energy, market-based trading of energy rights and carbon emission rights, and energy conservation and emission reduction.
- Establishment of a smart energy system. Energy digitalization and intelligent development, smart energy innovation demonstration, etc.
- Coordinated development of energy regions. Reasonable allocation of energy resources, optimization of energy regional layout, coordinated development of urban and rural energy, the guarantee of livelihood energy use, rural energy reform, energy supply in remote areas, etc.
- Energy technology innovation. Energy technology innovation capacity building, advanced applicable technology development, key core technology innovation and application demonstration, etc.
- Energy reform. Stimulate the vitality of various market players, market-oriented reforms in the competitive links of the energy industry, the establishment of a modern energy market system, and the reform of power and oil and gas systems and mechanisms, etc.
- International energy cooperation. Energy security with an open environment, international cooperation in ecological and environmental protection, etc.
In coordination with other German and European actors, the energy team of GIZ provided proposals for each of these topics. One important proposal is utilizing China’s enormous renewable energy resources fully to improve energy supply security and decrease import dependency, especially in conjunction with electrification in industry and transportation. Moreover, it was proposed to reduce contradictions between short-term and long-term objectives for renewable energy and to introduce long-term renewable energy targets as well as reducing market barriers in order to encourage more private sector investment into renewables. The document also made proposals on how regional power trade and exchange can be improved so that existing capacity can be used more efficiently.