China Might Not Meet Its Climate Target

China Might Not Meet Its Climate Target
Aerial view of high-rise buildings covered with smoke, by Photoholgic, via , July 23rd, 2018.


Dara Masita

South and East Asia Team Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence.

China has become a leading force in the green tech industry. However, it looks like China will not be meeting its main 2025 climate targets which include the increase of non-fossil fuel energy sources to 20 percent and reducing carbon intensity by 18 percent. Furthermore, in China’s new Paris Agreement pledge, the nation is committing to reach its peak carbon emissions production by 2030 and become net zero in 2060. Meanwhile, it seems that China will hit its peak carbon emission much earlier, by 2025.

In recent years, China has been experiencing expeditious growth due to the expansion of the renewable energy industry and as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, right now China is experiencing a slowdown. This is because the government has allocated stimulus funds to the construction and manufacturing while still approving coal-powered plant projects. 

In 2023, China’s energy demand increased by 5.7 percent. This pushed the CO2 emissions to increase by 5.2 percent as the main causes for these emissions are coal-powered plants and oil consumption. Chinese society was more dependent on fossil fuels during this period due to the low level of productivity from hydropower caused by the droughts. This means that China would have to decrease its CO2 emissions by 4.6 percent in order to meet its 2025 targets.

Nevertheless, the Chinese government has noticed the fault and has called for stronger controls on the projects and renewable energy deployment. To achieve China’s climate targets is not impossible. If China continues deploying renewable energy and the energy demands return to pre-COVID levels, the climate targets are attainable.

Sources and further reading:

Lauri Myllyvirta, ‘Analysis: Record drop in China’s CO2 emissions needed to meet 2025 target’ (Carbon Brief, 22 February 2024) <> accessed 28 February 2024.

Amy Hawkins, ‘Growth in CO2 emissions leaves China likely to miss climate targets’ (TheGuardian, 22 February 2024) <> accessed 28 February 2024.

Hongqiao Liu and Xiaoying You, ‘Q&A: What does China’s new Paris Agreement pledge mean for climate change?’ (CarbonBrief, 16 December 2021) <> accessed 28 February 2024.