If China is going to meet its climate and environmental goals, it will need to unlock a tremendous amount of capital. The country’s growing efforts to expand “green finance” will be a key to its success. This project explores China’s progress in five areas—carbon markets, green securities, energy transition, biodiversity finance, and carbon emissions.

The data tell an interesting story. China has an enormous challenge ahead to decarbonize an economy that is over 80 percent reliant on fossil fuels. It is—by far—the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. But, at the same time, it is becoming a global powerhouse in investing in and deploying green technologies and infrastructure. It has installed more renewable energy power capacity than the US, Brazil, India, Germany and Japan combined, and its renewable energy investment has surpassed both the US and Europe. In addition, China now operates the largest national carbon market in the world, having put a price on 4.5 billion tons of carbon emissions.

The dashboard will be updated periodically as new data becomes available. To explore the dashboard, use the buttons below:

Carbon Markets icon Carbon Markets
Biodiversity Finance icon Biodiversity Finance
Clean Energy Transition icon Clean Energy Transition
Green Securities icon Green Securities
China Carbon Emissions icon China Carbon Emissions

Carbon Markets

China’s national carbon market was officially launched in July 2021. Although the market only covers China’s power sector, it still constitutes the largest carbon market in the world. By the time the market incorporates its top polluting industries–electrolytic aluminum, cement, iron and steel, petrochemical, chemicals, papermaking and aviation–it will have put a price on nearly 80% of China’s emissions. A key challenge for the market is that prices are well below levels that are needed to change behavior. In 2021, average prices traded around 50 RMB, or $7.70 USD. In contrast, the IMF has estimated global average carbon prices need to reach at least $75 USD by the end of the decade to meet the Paris emissions goals.

4.5 Billion Tons of CO2 emissions covered by National Carbon Market
2,162 Number of entities participating in the National Carbon market
$1.2 Billion Cumulative Trading Value of Carbon Emission Allowances in 2021
Sources: World Bank; Chinese Government
Daily Trading Volumes of Carbon Emission Allowances in 2021
Opening Price of Carbon Emission Allowances in 2021
Chinese Emissions Covered By National ETS

Biodiversity Finance

Biodiversity protection is an increasingly salient issue in China. The country’s rapid economic growth and urbanization in recent decades have led to widespread habitat loss and nature degradation. In an effort to reverse this trend, China’s leaders are stressing the link between biodiversity and economic growth, and taking new efforts to protect nature. In 2021, China assumed the presidency of the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, announced new conservation efforts, including the creation of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, the establishment of China’s first national park system, and new financing for nature.

$131 Billion National fiscal investment for Ecological and Environmental Protection in China (2021)
$230 Million Amount pledged by China to support the Kunming Biodiversity Fund
230,000 Square kilometers covered by China's newly announced network of national parks
44% Decline in China's wildlife population since 1990
Sources: State Council Information Office; UN; Paulson Institute
China's Tree Cover Loss (KHA)
Share of China GDP at Risk of Disruption from Biodiversity Loss
Source: WEF
Coastal Wetland Loss (1950 to 2000)
Source: An et al

Clean Energy Transition

China aims to have 80% of the country’s total energy mix from non-fossil fuels by 2060. This will require a rapid transition away from coal, and massive investments in renewables and other clean energy technologies. China today is already leading the world in renewable energy capacity, and is making substantial investments for the future.

$16 Trillion Value of clean tech infrastructure needed in China by 2060
$77 Billion Value of China's environmental technologies market (2021)
$266 Billion Renewable Energy Investment in China (2021)
Sources: ITA, Goldman Sachs, IREA, Bloomberg NEF
Total Installed Renewable Power Capacity Gigawatts at end of 2020
Source: REN21
China Energy Mix 2009 vs 2020
Source: BP
Renewable Energy Investment (in $Billions)

Green Securities

China is one of the world’s largest markets for green bonds, having issued a total value of $94 billion in domestic and overseas markets in 2021. At the same time, it is experiencing a positive trend in ESG investing. This has been led by a strong government approach which emphasizes green finance as a strategic priority. China will need 487 trillion RMB (around $77 trillion) in green investment in the next 30 years to meet its carbon neutrality goals.

$94 Billion China's Green Bond issuance in 2021
$39 Billion AUM in Chinese ESG Funds (Jan to Sep in 2021)
$2.5 Trillion China's Green loans in local and foreign currencies in 2021
Volume of Green Bond Issuance (in $B)
ESG Disclosure among CSI300 Companies
Source: Pingan
China Green Bond Issuance in 2021 By Security Type (in Hundred Million, RMB)
Source: CCDC
China Green Bond Issuance in 2021 By Industry (in Hundred Million, RMB)
Source: CCDC

China Carbon Emissions

China today is the world’s largest carbon emitter. Its emissions have tripled in the past three decades, and surpassed the US in the mid-2000s. In 2019, it accounted for 27% of global emissions–more than the combined emissions of the developed world. China’s emissions are largely driven by its heavy reliance on coal for its heating and electricity.

Total Carbon Emissions (KT of CO2 Equivalent)
Source: World Bank
Share of Global Emissions (2019)
GHG Emissions by Sector (2019) (in MtCO₂e)