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 a number of 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’s environmental minister Li Ganjie has indicated that China will update its NDC by 2020 (Darby, 2019a).

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 strategy

China has not yet submitted a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC, but China’s environmental minister Li Ganjie has indicated that China will communicate its long-term strategy by 2020 (Darby, 2019b).

NDC enhancement

China is on track to overachieve its 2030 NDC targets based on its current policies. If one were to recalculate its NDC based on current policies, China’s target of a 20% share of renewable energy in its total primary energy demand in 2030 would be increased to a minimum of 23%., and its carbon intensity target would be strengthened from 60-65% below 2005 levels to approximately 68%.

Therefore, in updating its NDC, China will need to go beyond this level in order to achieve a significant progression in scaling up its climate action. China’s next step could then be to submit a strengthened NDC to the Paris Agreement by 2020, something it has indicated it intends to do, which would set a positive example for others to follow.

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