China's five-year plan for economy is crucial to meeting net zero by 2060

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Imminent economic blueprint has implications for planet – and whether Paris agreement likely to be met

China is to publish a new blueprint for its economy on Friday, with vast implications for the future of the planet – including whether the goals of the Paris climate agreement are likely to be met.

The five-year plan, of which this will be the 14th since 1953, forms the cornerstone of economic governance for the one-party state, and sets out social and environmental aspirations as well as GDP and industrial targets.

Net zero emissions springs from the Paris agreement, though the goal was not made explicit in the treaty’s text. World leaders set the 2C limit, and the aspirational limit of 1.5C, at Paris based on advice from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading body of the world’s climate scientists, which has over years worked out that 2C was the threshold of safety, beyond which the ravages of climate breakdown were likely to become catastrophic and irreversible. Even at 1.5C, many low-lying areas could flood from sea level rises and storm surges.

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