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Assessing the Policy Gaps for Achieving China’s Climate Targets in the Paris Agreement

Kelly Sims Gallagher publishes research on China's carbon emissions, in Nature Communications.

China committed to peak its carbon emissions around 2030, with best efforts to peak early, and also to achieve 20% non-fossil energy as a proportion of primary energy supply by 2030. These commitments were included in China’s nationally-determined contribution to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. We develop and apply a mixed-method methodology for analyzing the likelihood of current Chinese policies reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with China’s Paris commitments. We find that China is likely to peak its emissions well in advance of 2030 and achieve its non-fossil target conditional on full and effective implementation of all current policies, successful conclusion of power-sector reform, and full implementation of a national emissions-trading system (ETS) for the power and additional major industrial sectors after 2020. Several policy gaps are identified and discussed.

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