China’s National Development Strategy as Inspiration for its Long-Term Strategy to Respond to Climate Change

Case Summary: 

Over the past few years, China, in line with its own development practice, has urged the rest of the world to transition to green, low-carbon, climate-adaptive, and sustainable development. This case study explores a history of national long-term development planning in China and provides some commentary on long-term climate change planning for the country.

China’s use of a problem-oriented, goal-driven strategy facilitated its success. A problem-oriented strategy not only acknowledges that climate change is an environmental problem, but also, a long-term and systemic problem that needs to be addressed with strategic, macro, and systematic thinking. Having specific long-term strategic goals for responding to climate change, which were aligned with China’s two-stage development strategy, allowed the strategy to be even more effective.

Lessons learned include:

  • Relevant ministries should formulate their own action plans for climate change in different areas, and capacity-building measures also need to be launched and implemented at local levels
  • In addition to focusing on CO2 emissions reduction in the energy sector, China’s strategy should strengthen control of non-CO2 GHG emissions
  • China should actively carry out capacity-building to adapt to climate change in sensitive and vulnerable areas such as water resources, agricultural and coastal zones, and other ecosystem
East Asia and Pacific
Action Area 
Planning and Implementation Activity 
Developing Strategies and Plans, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Governance and Stakeholder Engagement, Sub-national Action and Integration, Long-Term Strategies
Sectors and Themes 
Education, Transport
Barriers overcome 
Capacity, Institutional
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Resources Institute (WRI)
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