Accelerating the Net-Zero Transition: Strategic Action for China’s 14th Five-Year Plan
As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China has a crucial role to play in tackling the climate crisis. Fortunately, China is signaling that it is taking this challenge seriously with President Xi Jinping’s recent announcement that China aims to peak its emissions before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality before 2060.
New analysis by WRI finds that China can peak its carbon emissions as early as 2026 and get on track to achieving President Xi’s vision for carbon neutrality while generating nearly $1 trillion in net economic and social benefits in 2050. To realize this vision, China must focus on four key priorities during the next five years: transitioning to cleaner sources of electricity; improving industrial energy efficiency; electrifying the transportation sector; and accelerating the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using carbon capture methods. Scaling up plans to curb non-CO2 greenhouse gases are also necessary, as are efforts to phase out coal power.
Strengthened climate policies will also reduce particulate emissions, which could improve air quality and help prevent the premature deaths of up to 1.89 million people by 2050—a benefit of $240 billion in avoided health impacts. Over 30 years, China can also expect to generate cost savings of $530 billion in fuel, operation, and maintenance expenditures and avoid $445 billion in climate damages.
Three economically advanced regions—the Yangtze River Delta Region, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Area—can lead the way to achieving China’s 2030 peaking and 2060 net-zero climate goals early while generating millions of new jobs in the process.
Full executive summary available in the report.