context: This document constitutes the ‘1’ in the government’s ‘1+N policy system’, meaning that it will set the general direction for socioeconomic development and emissions reductions; more detailed plans are likely to follow in the ‘N’ supporting plans.

State Council and the Party Central Committee have released an overarching road map guiding the PRC’s campaign for its carbon peaking and neutrality goals.

The document recognises that achieving carbon neutrality demands an economy-wide transition, and calls for such. It reiterates commitment to goals, but warns against excessive action so as to mitigate economic, financial and social risks. The document contains sections devoted to ten different sectors and paints a broad picture of measures to achieve carbon neutrality.

The only new major target introduced is to bring the share of non-fossil fuels in the primary energy mix above 80 percent by 2060.

According to He Lifeng 何立峰 NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission) director, the document revolves around five major objectives

  • building green, low carbon, circular economic systems
  • increasing energy efficiency
  • boosting the proportion of non-fossil fuels in energy consumption
  • decreasing carbon emissions
  • increasing the ecosystem’s carbon sink capacity

Notable points include

  • establishing systems to control total carbon emissions
  • improving carbon sequestration in ag
  • limiting, then banning distributed coal burning (CP note: refers to coal not used in large scale factories or power generation)
  • capacity substitutions in energy- and emissions-intensive industries like steel, cement, flat glass and electrolytic aluminium must be introduced at equal or reduced levels for new entries and expansions (CP note: this may cap total production capacity at current levels if implemented strictly)
  • introducing output caps on coal-fired power, petrochemicals and coal-based chemical industries
  • standards for defining energy- and emissions-intensive projects will be tightened
  • maintaining oil and gas refining capacity at a rational level
  • setting up binding carbon price mechanisms
  • incorporating carbon sinks into the carbon market
  • accelerating the phase-out of coal, to occur during 2026-2030
    • petroleum consumption will also peak in this period
  • accelerating energy systems market reform, especially in coal, oil and gas sectors
  • regulating exports of energy- and emissions-intensive products
  • expanding imports of green, low carbon products
  • implementing a Carbon Neutrality Law
  • formulating and tightening emissions standards for key industries and products
  • limiting investment in emissions-intensive industries
  • exploring the creation of a national fund for carbon neutrality
  • all local governments must set emissions reduction targets and incorporate them into their socioeconomic assessments