Shenzhen becomes first Chinese city to announce a carbon cap

On 7 October, a day after the Golden Week national holiday, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to announce plans for a carbon emission cap.

By 2025, it will establish a “dual control of carbon emissions” system, to be fully implemented in 2026-2030, according to its “carbon peak implementation plan”.

“Dual” means control not only of the intensity of emissions per unit of GDP but also their quantity. China established a system for reducing intensity in 2011-2015, while one for controlling quantity is yet to be established.  

With the publication of its plan, Shenzhen becomes China’s first city to explicitly state its commitment to the dual control system. It will also likely become the first to implement an emission cap, once its plan has been put into action.

Zou Ji, president of the Energy Foundation China, recently told Jiemian that, to achieve the urgently needed dual control of emissions, China requires a national emission cap. 

On 11 July this year, a document about the dual controls was approved during a meeting of the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform, indicating a shift in China’s focus towards controlling emissions per se, not just their intensity.

To achieve its goals, Shenzhen has proposed “ten major actions” in fields such as energy and transportation. 

Regarding energy, the strategy involves “controlling coal, reducing oil, increasing gas, promoting non-fossil fuel, and transmitting clean electricity”. Installation of new solar panels is projected to reach 1.5 GW in the 2021-2025 period, while AC and DC power transmission capacity would reach 25 GW by 2030.

On transportation, Shenzhen plans to increase the proportion of electric/hybrids in new vehicle sales to 70% by 2030 (from its current 60%), and the number of charging facilities to 600,000 by 2025 (up from 120,000 late last year). The city will also make it cheaper to park electric vehicles, to encourage take up.

Read China Dialogue‘s previous analysis of China’s climate-action trajectory based on its 14th Five Year Plan (2021-25).