China's targets and achievements in emission reduction

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Conserving resources and protecting the environment is a fundamental state policy of China. Measurable targets and monitored results are key yardsticks for work in emission reduction and resource thrift.

Explicit Targets

In its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) China vowed to chop 20 percent off its energy consumption per unit GDP, and to cut its aggregate discharge of major pollutants by 10 percent by the end of the plan period.

In 2009 China committed itself to the target that by 2020 it would bring down its carbon dioxide emission per unit GDP by 40 to 45 percent compared with the 2005 level.

Setting clear goals for emission reduction is part of China's efforts to transform its economic structure and development pattern, to escalate the construction of a resources-efficient and environment-friendly society, as well as to actively cope with climate change. This also demonstrates the resolve of the Chinese government to solve its resources and environment problems.

Preliminary Results

In recent years China has ratcheted up efforts to lower emissions and conserve resources, to noticeable effect. In 2009 China's energy consumption per unit GDP fell by 15.61 percent from the 2005 level, carbon dioxide emission decreased by 1.13 billion tons, chemical oxygen demand (COD) shrank by 9.66 percent and the total sulfur dioxide discharge was down by 13.14 percent. This marks a reverse in the increase in energy consumption per unit GDP and emissions of major pollutants in the previous years that are attributable to escalated industrialization and urbanization.

In 2007 China established the National Leading Group on Climate Change headed by Premier Wen Jiabao. Besides, it has promulgated a number of documents on energy use, carbon emission and climate change, including the Comprehensive Work Plan for Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction, the China National Climate Change Program and the Decision to Enhance Energy Conservation.

The 11th Five-year Plan period ends this year. To make sure that the emission reduction goals for the period would be met, the Chinese government has launched more forceful measures. For instance, in August the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a list of 2,087 enterprises using outdated or energy-intensive facilities to be closed by the end of September.

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