WASHINGTON (March 11, 2021)—China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) was approved by the National People’s Congress at the Two Sessions in Beijing. This national plan signals the direction of China’s economic development and provides important indicators for the country’s approach to climate, energy and biodiversity. China’s national government agencies will build upon the plan, including the first national-level Climate Change Special Plan, which is being drafted by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), and local governments will develop related plans in the weeks ahead.

Following is a statement from Manish Bapna, Managing Director and Executive Vice President, World Resources Institute:

“The 14th Five-Year Plan comes at a pivotal moment as China looks to recharge its economy and slow its emissions. The plan affirms some of the core elements of China’s climate vision but lacks important details about how it will achieve its goals.

“President Xi surprised the world in late 2020 in announcing that China will achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 and peak its CO2 emissions before 2030. We are glad to see China confirmed the 2030 and 2060 pledges in this plan, as well as indications that China will take on a greater role in global climate action. The world will be watching China’s next moves.

“The 14th Five-Year Plan includes several important targets for climate and energy. However, China will need to take additional actions beyond what is in the plan to get on a pathway to achieve its goal of being net zero by 2060.

“The plan includes a target to decrease carbon dioxide intensity by 18% by the end of 2025, albeit with a lower baseline than the 13th Five-Year Plan. China also set a goal to raise the proportion of non-fossil energy in total energy consumption to around 20% by 2025, which is a sign of progress compared to its NDC announced in 2015. The plan encourages early emissions peaking in some economically advanced regions, key sectors and enterprises. These goals complement China’s existing national emissions targets, although some could have been strengthened, such as including a clear reduction target for non-CO2 emissions as well as an ambitious target for CO2 emissions cap. The plan references the importance of climate adaptation, and China will strengthen the observation and assessment of how climate change impacts vulnerable regions.

“The plan is also notable for what’s not included. China declined to set a GDP growth target and instead chose to prioritize quality over quantity. In practice, this means an intensified effort to a just transition to create more high-quality jobs, the development of smart, sustainable cities and the protection of nature.

“China can build upon these elements when it introduces additional national and provincial plans later this year, which should set out clear targets, supporting policies and transparent reporting mechanisms. We look forward to seeing more details to inform when China will peak its total CO2 emissions and how it will achieve its vision of becoming net zero by 2060.”

Jinghan Xu, WRI China (Beijing): jinghan.xu@wri.org
Lauren Zelin, WRI (Washington DC): lauren.zelin@wri.org

Read a related blog post from WRI China: https://wri.org.cn/en/blog/climate-change-will-be-higher-priority-14th-fyp-%E2%80%94%E2%80%94-latest-signal-mee-marks-increased-national