Which key interventions can trigger a systemic net-zero transition in China?

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This briefing presents a list of opportunities for international finance to speed up net-zero transitions in China, the world’s second largest economy. It looks at key areas including energy production and distribution, transport, natural carbon sinks and technology and energy policy.


China holds huge potential to lead the global transition towards net-zero carbon emissions. Critical to its success will be engagement, mutual knowledge sharing and collaboration. Philanthropic funding has played a key role in supporting China’s transition towards net zero, averaging $75 million per year between 2017 and 2020. Clean energy transitions, the power sector reform, the electrification of transport and policy frameworks such as the ETS have historically been the focus of international donors and should continue to be so, given their status as national priorities within the ’1+N climate framework’ and their centrality in enabling the net zero transition. The scale of potential emissions reductions in China provides significant scope for future investment to drive a systemic net-zero transformation.


This briefing was authored by Ying Fan and Xiaogu Li as part of the Net Zero Political Economy project. The project received financial and in-kind support from the ClimateWorks Foundation. The briefing is the work of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of Climate Strategies or ClimateWorks Foundation.