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China’s 14th five-year plan (FYP) to go into effect in 2021 will be one of the world’s most important documents for global efforts to fight climate change, according to a report released on Tuesday.
While local and global efforts continue to increasingly curb climate change across the world, many are eying how China’s climate and energy policy moves as the country constitutes the world’s largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter.
For this reason, the FYP, which will define China’s goals from 2021 to 2025, will most likely be one of the world’s most important documents on tackling climate change, according to an analysis by the U.K.-based Carbon Brief.
The study claimed that powerful parties, such as the State Grid Corporation of China and China Electricity Council, were lobbying to get a green light for hundreds of new coal-fired power plants to be built.
“The push for more coal power also appears at odds with China’s climate goals, including a target to peak its CO2 emissions no later than 2030,” it said, adding that to meet this goal, low-carbon sources would need to cover any increases in energy demand.
Citing last month’s energy data, it stressed that clean energy investment would need to accelerate substantially to meet the country’s climate goals which now seem to be far away as CO2 emissions increased in China for the third year in a row in 2019, by around 2%.
“Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and still accounted for 57.7% of China’s energy use in 2019, the data shows. Coal plants, which burn approximately 54% of all coal used in the country, provide 52% of generating capacity and 66% of electricity output – down from a peak of 81% in 2007,” the report added.
China’s 14th FYP for economic and social development will be finalized and approved in early 2021, followed by more detailed sectoral targets over the next year.
Carbon Brief is a U.K.-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy, and energy policy, according to its website.