VI. Coordinating Energy and Environment Development
Climate change is a significant global issue of worldwide concern. It is both an environmental and development issue, and intrinsically a development issue. The large-scale exploitation and utilization of energy resources is one of the major causes of environmental pollution and climate change. Appropriate handling of the relationship between the exploitation and utilization of energy resources on the one hand, and environmental protection and climate change on the other, is an urgent issue facing all countries. China is a developing country in the primary stage of industrialization, and with low accumulative emissions. From 1950 to 2002, the aggregate amount of China's fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions accounted for only 9.3 percent of the world's total in the same period. The amount of China's per-capita carbon dioxide emissions ranked 92nd in the world, and the elasticity coefficient of carbon dioxide emissions per-unit GDP was very small.
As a responsible developing country, China attaches great importance to environmental protection and prevention of global climate change. The Chinese government has made environmental protection a fundamental state policy, signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, established the National Coordination Committee for Climate Change, submitted to the UN the Initial National Communication on Climate Change of the People's Republic of China, worked out the Management Measures on the Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism Projects, formulated the National Climate Change Program, and adopted a series of proactive policies and measures regarding environmental protection and climate change. China aims to achieve the goal of basically curbing the trend of ecological deterioration, reducing total emissions of major pollutants by 10 percent, and gain visible results in the control of greenhouse gas emissions during its 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010). Meanwhile, the country is actively adjusting its economic and energy structures, comprehensively advancing energy saving, emphatically preventing and controlling the pressing problems of environmental pollution, and effectively controlling emissions of pollutants to facilitate coordinated development between energy and the environment.
-- Comprehensive control of greenhouse gas emissions. China is expediting the transformation of its economic development mode, giving full play to the role of energy saving and optimization of energy structure in slowing climate change, and endeavoring to cut fossil energy consumption. It is vigorously developing a circular economy, fostering the comprehensive utilization of resources, enhancing the utilization efficiency of energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It continuously improves the capability of addressing climate change with the aid of scientific and technological progress, thereby making positive contributions to the environmental protection of the Earth.
-- Energetically fighting ecological destruction and environmental pollution. China will pay more attention to the clean utilization of energy resources, especially coal, and make it a focus of environmental protection, energetically combating ecological destruction and environmental pollution. The country is quickening its pace of control of coal mining subsidence areas and the exploitation and utilization of coal-bed gas, and establishes and improves the compensation mechanism for the exploitation of coal resources and restoration of the eco-environment. It promotes the orderly exploitation of coal resources, restricts the exploitation of high-sulfur and high-ash coal, forbids mining coal with toxic and harmful substances, such as arsenic and radiotoxins, exceeding permissible limits. It actively develops clean coal technology and encourages the application of coal washing, processing, conversion, clean-burning and smoke-purifying technologies. At the same time, it is expediting the construction of desulfurizing facilities in coal-fired power plants, requiring that newly built coal-fired power plants must install and use desulfurizing facilities according to the permissible emission standards, and such existing plants must speed up their desulfurization upgrading. The Chinese government strictly prohibits the construction of new coal-fired power plants for the sole purpose of power generation in medium and large cities or on their outskirts.
-- Proactive prevention of motor vehicle emission pollution. The development of the automobile industry and the improvement of the people's livelihood have led to a rapid growth in the number of motor vehicles. Consequently, preventing motor vehicle emission pollution has been put high on the environmental protection agenda. China is actively taking effective measures to this end: strictly enforcing vehicle emission standards; intensifying inspection for the environment-friendly production of vehicles; strictly implementing the annual emission inspection system for motor vehicles; strictly forbidding manufacture, sale and import of motor vehicles exceeding the emission limits. At the same time, China encourages the production and use of vehicles burning clean fuels, and the production of hybrid electric vehicles, and supports the development of rail transport and electric buses.
-- Exercising strict environmental management of energy projects. Strengthening the environmental management of energy projects is an effective measure to ensure coordinated development between energy construction and environmental protection. China strictly enforces the environmental impact assessment system, restrains extensive mode of economic growth by exercising a strict environment access system. It ensures simultaneous design, construction and launching of environmental protection facilities at new, expansion and rebuilding projects, intensifies safe management of nuclear power projects, reinforces supervision and management of the safety and radiation environment of nuclear power plants, research reactors and fuel cycle facilities in operation, and practices meticulous safety examination and supervision of nuclear power facilities under construction. It further enhances environmental protection efforts in the construction of hydropower projects, pays equal attention to the requirements of comprehensive development and utilization of river basins while protecting the environment, and increasing the level of comprehensive utilization of water resources and eco-environmental benefits.