China expected to favour green tech over coal in new five-year plan

China is today the world’s largest emitter of planet-heating gases, responsible for about 28 per cent of total global emissions.

China, which long targeted rapid industrial growth despite its environmental consequences, now aims to become the global leader in “low-carbon tech for a carbon-constrained world” as it unveils its new five-year plan on Friday, China analysts say.

That shift is likely to include an accelerated pullback from its role as a major financier of new coal-fired power plants at home and abroad, Isabel Hilton, founder of China Dialogue, a non-profit news organisation, told an online event this week.

Visitors to Tiannanmen Square in Beijing wear face masks against smog, not COVID-19. With strong public demand to continue battling China’s choking air pollution, some green policies also are likely to be popular at home and reduce social pressure the government sees as a threat. Getty

China is today the world’s largest emitter of planet-heating gases, responsible for about 28 per cent of total global emissions.

Its 2021-25 economic and social development plan is expected to reinforce a strong signal to Chinese industry to move away from fossil fuels and is likely to mean national emissions start falling within five years, predicted Li Shuo, a senior policy adviser for Greenpeace East Asia.

In a country that normally sets targets it can achieve or overachieve, major industries this year must deliver plans on how they will cut emissions in line with China’s commitment last year to become “carbon neutral” by 2060, Mr Li said.

But shifting rapidly from a focus on dirty industry to greener tech is a challenge everywhere – and China is no exception, said Dimitri de Boer of the China office of ClientEarth, an environmental law charity.

Read the full article published in the Australian Financial Review 4th March 2021