Towards carbon neutrality and China’s 14th Five-Year Plan: Green COVID-19 recovery, sustainable urban development and clean energy transition

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, for the period 2021–25, presents a real opportunity for China to link its long-term climate goals with its short- to medium-term social and economic development plans. China’s recent commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 has set a clear direction for its economy, but requires ratcheting up ambition on its near-term climate policy. Against this background, this paper extends the discussion on major action areas for China’s 14th Five-Year Plan presented in a previous policy note (Stern and Xie, 2020), focusing on three aspects: the energy transition, a new type of sustainable urban development and investment priorities. First, the authors outline the current context – the COVID-19 pandemic and the international responses to date, and the importance of China’s leadership.