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China to Pilot Carbon Peaking Programs in 100 Cities and Zones

The pilot programs will start with 15 key provincial regions to gradually expand to more cities and zones.

According to a notification published by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on November 6, 2023, China unveiled the National Implementation Plan for Piloting Carbon Peaking. The announcement states that in order to solve the roadblock preventing the country from developing in a green and low-carbon manner, the government has committed to launching carbon-peaking pilot programs in 100 typical cities and zones.

By 2025, a policy framework that is conducive to green and low-carbon development will begin to take shape, accompanied by a range of innovative measures and reform practices that are feasible, replicable and is ready to apply elsewhere. For areas with different resource endowment, development foundation and industrial structure, the authority will work out specific methodology tailored to the unique conditions of various regions.

By 2030, key projects, tasks and reforms are due to be completed in pilot cities and zones, and a comprehensive policy framework will be fully established to support green and low-carbon development. It is expected that those existing innovative measures and reform will play a vital role in guiding other regions to adopt similar approaches and make progress in their sustainability goals.

Considering the total carbon emission and growth trends, as well as socio-economic status vary greatly across the nation, the pilot program will initiate in 15 provincial regions, including Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The task of creating their own implementation plans falls to the Local Development and Reform Commissions (LDRC) in each of the 15 administrative districts that have been listed. These commissions consider several aspects, including resource endowment, location features, economic development level, and functional placement. For pilot cities and zones to achieve carbon peaking, the Guidelines for Preparing the Carbon Peaking Pilot Implementation Plan (Annex 2) provide essential guidance and reference indicators. 

For instance, in the transportation sector, the low-carbon development indicators for pilot cities include metrics such as the penetration rate of new energy vehicles, the number of new energy vehicle ownerships, and the proportion of urban green travel. These indicators provide a basis for measuring progress and directing efforts towards achieving carbon peaking goals

The Guidelines also outline major tasks for pilot cities and zones as follows: 

For pilot cities:

  • Facilitate the green and low-carbon transformation of energy
  • Improve energy resource utilization efficiency
  • Promote carbon peaking in key industries
  • Accelerate the low-carbon transformation of urban and rural construction
  • Strengthen green and low-carbon development of transportation

For pilot zones:

  • Increase clean energy utilization efficiency
  • Promote high-quality development of industries in pilot zones
  • Enhance the green and low-carbon level of basic infrastructure
  • Vigorously promote resource recycling
  • Improve synergy capabilities for pollution reduction and carbon reduction