The China Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) provides analysis and recommendations on integrating the country’s efforts to achieve high-quality development with the pursuit of emission reduction and climate resilience. Without adequate mitigation and adaptation efforts, climate risks will become a growing constraint to China’s long-term growth and prosperity, threatening to reverse development gains. Conversely, if efforts to tackle climate risks lead to a significant decline in growth and rising inequality, they would deprive millions of people of development and likely erode support for the reforms necessary to achieve a lasting economic transformation. Hence, China will need to grow and green its economy at the same time. This report offers policy options to achieve these dual objectives by easing inevitable trade-offs and maximizing potential synergies between China’s development and climate objectives.
China’s development and climate change are deeply and increasingly intertwined. The country is both a contributor to rising global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions causing climate change and severely affected by its adverse impacts. Although China is not the main source of historical cumulative emissions, it today accounts for 27 percent of annual global carbon dioxide and a third of the world’s greenhouse gases emissions (Table O.1). Alongside other larger emitters, China’s contribution to reducing global climate risks is therefore crucial. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its relatively carbon-intensive industrial economy will not be easy, posing transition risks but also opening new opportunities for development. At the same time, large parts of China’s population and economic infrastructure are heavily exposed to climate risks. China, like other countries, will have to adapt and build resilience to protect human life and avoid economic losses from the effects.
The CCDR is firmly anchored in China’s own development and climate aspirations. China aims to sustain sufficient economic growth to double per capita income and become a high-income country by 2035. Simultaneously, recognizing the long-term threat climate change poses to its own and to global development, China has also made ambitious commitments to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. This report is, therefore, not about whether China should act to address climate change but how it can do so while safeguarding development gains and ambitions.