China

Critically Insufficient4°C+
World
NDCs with this rating fall well outside of a country’s “fair share” range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming would exceed 4°C. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with warming of greater than 4°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
Highly insufficient< 4°C
World
NDCs with this rating fall outside of a country’s “fair share” range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming would reach between 3°C and 4°C. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with warming between 3°C and 4°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
Insufficient< 3°C
World
NDCs with this rating are in the least stringent part of a country’s “fair share” range and not consistent with holding warming below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with warming over 2°C and up to 3°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
2°C Compatible< 2°C
World
NDCs with this rating are consistent with the 2009 Copenhagen 2°C goal and therefore fall within a country’s “fair share” range, but are not fully consistent with the Paris Agreement long term temperature goal. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming could be held below, but not well below, 2°C and still be too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with holding warming below, but not well below, 2°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
1.5°C Paris Agreement Compatible< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s NDCs in the most stringent part of its “fair share” range: it is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
Role model<< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s NDC is more ambitious than what is considered a “fair” contribution: it is more than consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit. No “role model” rating has been developed for the sectors.

Summary table

Paris Agreement targets

On 3 September 2016, China ratified the Paris Agreement and submitted its NDC to the UNFCCC, which includes several elements:

  • Peak CO2 emissions by 2030, or earlier if possible;
  • Increase the share of non-fossil energy sources in the total primary energy supply to around 20% by 2030;
  • Lower the carbon intensity of GDP by 60% to 65% below 2005 levels by 2030;
  • Increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic metres, compared to 2005 levels.

Among measures to implement enhanced actions on climate change, it also lists the following elements:

  • Increase the share of natural gas in the total primary energy supply to around 10% by 2020;
  • Proposed reductions in the production of HCFC22 (35% below 2010 levels by 2020 and 67.5% by 2025) and “controlling” HFC23 production by 2020.

China has yet to submit a revised NDC to the UNFCCC although China’s environmental minister Li Ganjie previously indicated that China would update its NDC by 2020, a statement that was reinforced in a joint release by China, France, and the United Nations Secretary-General (Darby, 2019; United Nations, 2019). Experts suggest China will be delaying the submission of its updated NDC and may wait for the outcome of the US presidential election before doing so (Doyle, 2020; Farand, 2020).

During the EU-China summit in September 2020, the EU urged China to match its climate ambitions by peaking CO2 emissions by 2025 and reaching net zero by 2060 (Simon, 2020). At the 75th Session of The United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 2020, President Xi Jinping claimed China will “scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” and “aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030” (FMPRC, 2020).

2020 pledge

China’s 2020 pledge consists of the following elements:

  • Overall reduction of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40–45% below 2005 levels by 2020;
  • Increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15% by 2020;
  • Increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic metres by 2020 from 2005 levels.

We analysed the effects of all these targets – if achieved – on emissions, including the non-fossil target for 2020 and 2030. For details of how we quantify China’s NDC targets, please see the assumptions section.

Long-term goal

China has not yet submitted a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC. The government had indicated its intention to submit one in 2020, while the responsible body, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, notes the document is already being drawn up (Farand, 2019; UN Secretary-General, 2019). In addition to China’s NDC announcement at the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping also announced its intention to aim to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 (FMPRC, 2020).

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