Research for this policy brief was supported by Energy Foundation China.
China’s pledge of carbon neutrality by 2060 will generate major and sustained benefits, including reduced air pollution, economic leadership in new technologies, and an improved global environment. It is also a critical contribution to catalyze increased international climate ambition. This net-zero pledge can be achieved with a combination of five strategies: sustainable demand, decarbonizing electricity, electrification, fuel switching, and approaches to achieve negative emissions. Achieving this goal will be challenging but will also generate significant benefits, both domestic and global—not only enhancing societal welfare but also generating opportunities to build China’s technological and economic leadership in the new, climate-friendly economy. In implementing these five strategies to get to net-zero, early action will be critical, and near-term opportunities with significant benefits include an immediate halt to new coal-fired power plant construction and peaking of emissions as early as possible.