China’s emissions expected to peak in 2027 – state think tank

China’s carbon emissions could peak three years ahead of the 2030 government target, according to a report published on 31 March by the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), a state-affiliated think tank.

The 2027 date is the first time a government-affiliated body has offered a date before 2030.

On carbon neutrality, the report follows the official line that it could be achieved before 2060, adding that up to 80% of total power generation could come from non-fossil sources as early as 2045.

CAE president, Li Xiaohong, said the report will “guide future key innovations and China’s transition to a green economy”, according to a China Daily report.

The report, “Strategies and Pathways for China’s Carbon Peaking and Neutrality”, is the result of consultations with over 40 academics, 300 experts and dozens of companies in the energy, power, industrial and transport sectors. 

Its modelling finds that by or before 2060, China’s annual greenhouse gas emissions will be no higher than 2.6 billion tons of CO2 equivalent, with expanded carbon storage and removal capacities bringing net emissions down to zero. Emissions stood at around 13.8 billion tons of CO2e in 2020.

The report contains “8 strategies and 7 pathways” to peaking carbon around 2027. These include improving energy conservation and efficiency, building up energy security, replacing fossil fuel energy generation with non-fossil alternatives, electrifying the economy, and promoting and researching carbon capture technologies.

Find out more about China’s recent progress on decarbonisation on China Dialogue here.