China goes big on clean energy in latest Five-Year Plan


For the first time ever, China will cap its total primary energy consumption, and set targets to improve its air quality, outlined in its 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development. China also plans to cut energy and CO2 intensity by 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively in the next five years, putting the country in a position to likely surpass its 2020 carbon intensity reduction target. This announcement comes at a time when coal use continues to decline throughout the country and renewable capacity is soaring. A recent study shows that the country is likely to meet its climate pledges quicker than expected, to protect the vulnerable from adverse climate impacts. As emissions stall and renewables surge, China is on a path that cleans up its air, cuts coal reliance and ends extreme poverty.


Key Points

  • Accelerated action brings cleaner air and better health. As renewables are increasingly eating into coal’s energy share in China, new findings show that the nation’s coal use may have peaked, as well as its carbon emissions. Paired with a strong Five-Year Plan, accelerating ambition over the next five years could help the nation clean up its air quicker and improve public health while bringing other substantial benefits to its people.



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Key Quotes

  • “We must work to build through tireless efforts, a Beautiful China where the sky is blue, the land is green and the water runs clear.” – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
  • “We are determined to push ahead with reforms, it will revitalise economic development. We have to address real problems in sluggish coal and steel sectors.” – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
  • “From now on, it will be mostly about the quality, efficiency and benefits of growth, rather than its speed.” – Pan Jianhua, an National People’s Congress deputy

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