Beijing, 17 March 2016 – China’s 13th Five Year Plan released today could indicate the world’s largest carbon emitter will ramp its climate targets up within the next five years, just weeks after a recent paper also suggested that China’s emission may already have peaked.

Greenpeace East Asia has identified language in the climate change section of the plan which indicates that China will “implement and enhance its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to tackle climate change” in the context of the five year plan period (2016-2020).

The Paris Agreement reached last year has seen countries agreeing in general to increase their ambition over time, but so far no major emitter has yet to explicitly mention that it will enhance its ambition.

“The word ‘enhance’ is particularly strong in this instance, and as with much of the government’s communication, is carefully chosen,” said Li Shuo, senior climate policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia.

“The fact that the Chinese government is already talking about enhancing its climate action plans indicates that it is ready to up its game. If this translates into concrete policies, then China could be on its way to becoming a global leader in reining in its emissions.

“It could inject new momentum into post-Paris global climate politics. Greenpeace urges other countries to urgently meet the climate crisis head on with equally ambituous measures.”

Commenting from Brussels, Bram Claeys, Political Advisor at the Greenpeace EU Unit said:

“Europe seriously risks becoming a laggard on climate action. In 2015 China expanded renewable energy use like never before, while investments in renewables decreased in the EU. China´s willingness to act on climate with more ambitions stands in stark contrast to European leaders refusing to increase their climate targets.”

Background information:

China has previously committed in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to cut its emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% by 2030 based on 2005 level. It also pledged to peak its emissions around 2030, with an intention to peak early.

Latest statistics shows China’s coal consumption declined for the second year running in 2015 by 3.7%. According to International Energy Agency’s assessment, this resulted in China’s overall emissions falling by 1.5% last year.

The 13th Five Year Plan (only in Chinese) could be found here.

Media contacts:

Li Shuo, Senior Climate Policy Adviser, Greenpeace East Asia, [email protected], +86 152-0168-1548

Bram Claeys, Climate and Energy Policy Adviser, Greenpeace European Unit, [email protected], +32 2-274-1919

Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)