China may reach its climate goals ahead of schedule, according to New report

Published 09-12-2023

China could potentially break the trend of its CO2 emissions from the energy sector before 2030 and its energy supply could become CO2-neutral well before planned. This is demonstrated in a new report presented today at the UN Climate Summit, COP28. The report was prepared by Chinese authorities with assistance from Danish experts.

China holds the potential to make a significant impact in reducing global emissions and thereby limiting global warming. The fact that Danish experts can contribute is something that I am very proud of," says Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy.

He has just presented the report, China Energy Transformation Outlook 2023 (CETO), along with Chinese chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua at the UN Climate Summit COP28 in Dubai.

Denmark is a pioneer in building an energy system with a high proportion of renewable energy, with wind and solar power accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the total electricity consumption. Denmark’s green practices are worth learning from for China and the world,” says Xie Zhenhua.

The new report indicates that it is realistic for China to achieve its 2030 and 2060 climate targets ahead of schedule. It is published by the Energy Research Institute and developed with support from experts from the Danish Energy Agency, as part of the government-to-government cooperation on energy between Denmark and China.

Denmark has accumulated decades of experience in the green transition of our energy system while sustaining economic growth. Sharing our experiences with China can contribute significantly to CO2 reductions, which are crucial for our collective future,” says Dan Jørgensen.

According to CETO, China's energy supply has the potential to achieve CO2 neutrality before 2055 – more than five years before the current target of 2060. At the same time, China's CO2 curve could also flatten before 2030. To fulfill these scenarios, a continued massive expansion of renewable energy is required, along with the improvement of the entire energy system's efficiency. The electrification of industries, transportation and the building sector is needed, while energy storage and utilization of green hydrogen will become increasingly important.

Calculations in CETO show that an acceleration of China's green transition is realistic without unduly impacting supply security and economic development.

The report also highlights the necessity of clear goals and taking deliberate actions to transform the Chinese energy system, which is currently dominated by coal. Since autumn 2020, when Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the goal of being CO2-neutral before 2060, China has undertaken extensive reforms to curb CO2 emissions in all parts of the energy system. Furthermore, China leads the world in the expansion of solar and wind power, and this development is expected to shortly result in a reduction in coal consumption within the electricity sector.

The Energy Research Institute, which has published the CETO report, is part of China's National Development and Reform Commission. The report is expected to be used by Chinese energy authorities as input for the development of China's energy system.



  • China Energy Transformation Outlook (CETO) is a flagship in Danish-Chinese cooperation on energy. It's an annual report illustrating scenarios for the development of the Chinese energy system until 2060 and proposing concrete actions to achieve China's climate goals.
  • The Danish Energy Agency's contribution to CETO includes developing detailed models of the Chinese energy system, which the Energy Research Institute uses in its analyses. The Danish Energy Agency has also shared Danish experiences in electricity market development and analyses of Power-to-X opportunities in a Chinese context.
  • Relevant Chinese ministries actively use CETO's results in their energy policy development to support the achievement of the country's climate goals. In recent years, CETO reports have been presented by Chinese ministers at the UN Climate Summit, indicating the report's significance from the Chinese perspective.
  • Denmark has maintained an energy cooperation with China since 2005. The current program is funded through development funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until and including 2025.