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Carbon Peaking Implementation Plan Details Actions Decarbonizing China’s Urban Sector

China’s overall “1+N” climate action framework is taking shape to drive peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060 (the “30/60” goals). In July 2022, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly released an Implementation Plan for Carbon Emission Peaking in Urban-Rural Construction. The plan, one of several dozen “N” action plans currently under development, introduces numerous new concrete, quantitative, actionable, and encouraging sectoral goals and actions. Key highlights include:

  • The plan stresses low carbon urban form with several quantitative indicators, for example: dense development (10,000–15,000 population per square km) in clusters of 50km2 or smaller, separated by at least 100 meters green eco belts; narrow streets, dense grids, and small block setting in city centers with road density of more than 8km/km2; and in towns, street width not exceeding 40 meters, public squares within 2 hectares, and 70% of buildings lower than six floors.
  • In terms of building energy efficiency, the plan sets new targets to be realized before 2030, including improving new residential building energy efficiency to 83% (vs. 75% now) in severe cold climate zones and 75% (vs. 65% now) in other climate zones; improving new public building energy efficiency to 78% (vs. 72% now) on average; mandating that all prefectural and above cities finish existing building energy retrofits and improve energy efficiency by more than 20%; and improving rural buildings energy efficiency by 30% by 2030.
  • The plan sets a 65% building electrification rate by 2030, pushes for full electrification of new buildings (20% new public buildings in 2030), requires 50% rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation for all new public buildings and factory rooftops by 2025, and plans to scale up heat pumps, electric cooking appliances, PEDF buildings (a combined PV, energy storage, high efficiency direct current power, and flexible load system), and building load based virtual power plants.
  • The plans stresses decarbonizing urban heating by using various waste heat, including industry and nuclear power plant waste heat, and guides areas in cold climate zones to give up district heating if their building energy efficiency has reached an ultra-low energy level (82% energy efficiency).
  • With regard to community, the plan calls for building “complete communities” with 15-minute community life units, initiating green community promotion action, initiating specialized action for construction and reclamation of pedestrian walkways, bike paths, and bus-exclusive lanes, improving integration of urban rail stations with neighboring buildings, and pushing for installation of electric vehicle charging facilities.
  • The plan sets new requirements for construction and demolition, including use of pre-fabrication and building waste requirements.
  • Quantitative goals that are conducive to carbon mitigation also are set for water supply, wastewater treatment, rain water collection and utilization, city lighting, public green space, greenways, solid waste recycling, and other urban infrastructure.

Our grantees contributed significantly to this policy document through intensive research and engagement with the ministries. Energy Foundation China will continue to work with our partners to support the decarbonization of China’s urban sector.


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