In December 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that the country would update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to include the following targets: peak CO₂ emissions before 2030, reduce carbon intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by over 65% from 2005 levels, and increase non-fossil fuel energy consumption to around 25%.,, Although not officially submitted yet, if implemented the new NDC targets would translate to emissions levels of 13.2-14.0 GtCO₂e p.a. by 2030, excluding LULUCF, or 67-78% above 2005 levels.
China’s announced NDC is slightly more ambitious than their current NDC target, which translates to emissions reductions of 74-92% above 2005 levels by 2030 (or close to 13.7-15.1 GtCO₂e p.a.), excluding LULUCF.,
A 1.5°C compatible pathway would require that China realise an emissions reduction of 17% (3-25%) below 2005 levels by 2030 (or around 5.9-7.7 GtCO₂e p.a), excluding LULUCF. In terms comparable to China’s proposed carbon intensity target, this would require the country to lower their GDP carbon intensity by 85-91% from 2005 levels by 2030.
In terms comparable to China’s proposed carbon intensity target, based on current GDP projections, this would require 85-91% reductions in carbon intensity by 2030 from 2005 levels., Confirming previous studies, China would need to peak their GHG emissions almost immediately, doubling their non-fossil fuel energy share target by 2030.This would translate to emissions reductions of 17% (3-25%) below 2005 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF, or reaching emissions levels of 6.6 (5.9-7.7) GtCO₂e p.a.
Under current policy projections China is set to meet their current NDC and to likely meet, or exceed, the proposed NDC update. Nonetheless, current policies are not aligned with a 1.5°C compatible pathway.
In September 2020, President Xi Jinping announced a long-term goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, though it remains unclear if neutrality refers to CO₂ or all GHG emissions. If the former, this target would lead to around 2 GtCO₂e p.a. in 2060 (excluding LULUCF). If the target were to cover all GHG emissions, 2060 emissions would be around 0.6 GtCO₂e p.a. (excluding LULUCF).
China would need to achieve at least net zero CO₂ emissions, excluding LULUCF, by 2060 to be 1.5°C compatible, with some pathways to 1.5°C showing a 98% emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2050, excluding LULUCF.
The decarbonisation of the power sector and industrial processes would be critical in driving down GHG emissions, and aligning to a 1.5°C compatible pathway.