Green ideas from democratic parties

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China has eight political parties in addition to the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) that participate in the managment of state affairs. They are the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, the China Democratic League, the China Democratic National Construction Association, the China Association for Promoting Democracy, the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, the China Zhi Gong (Public Interest) Party, the Jiu San (September 3) Society, and the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League.

The annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is an important occasion for discussion and cooperation on major issues between delegates from all nine parties. The proposals made here are important references for China's legislation and policies.

At this year's CPPCC a great number of proposals were filed by non-Communist parties, which share concerns for environmental protection, climate change and sustainable, low-carbon development. Here are some of those proposals.

More Growth, Less Carbon

Global climate change poses a critical threat to China's energy security and environment, both of which are key to fast, stable and healthy development of the nation's economy and society. An expanding economy however always comes at the cost of more emissions of greenhouse gases. To tackle this dilemma, the China Zhi Gong Party proposes:

First, ensure that the energy-saving and emission-reduction targets set in the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015) are implemented in various localities, particularly in the developed coastal areas of southern and eastern China. While continuing the campaign to close down polluting and energy-rapacious enterprises, many of which are small-scale, local governments should also be cautious about projects requiring huge investment, which may not achieve payback for two or three decades and which are time- and money-consuming in technical upgrades.

Second, establish a statistical and auditing system for greenhouse gas emissions. They should be calculated region by region to provide data for studying effective controls.

Third, launch and gradually improve state policies on construction of low-carbon cities and start experiments in some areas. Low-carbon development plans should be made on the basis of scientific research and analysis. The emphasis should be on exploring the emission-cutting potentials of new energies, energy-efficient buildings, public transport and green consumption.

Fourth, promoting low-carbon industries and reducing the carbon footprint of conventional industries should progress in tandem. Policies should be perfected to bring electricity from renewable resources into the power grid and out to consumers, to expand the domestic market for new energies and energy-frugal products; the commercialization, integration and scaling-up of low-carbon technologies should be encouraged. At the same time, traditional industries should further explore what they can do to reduce their energy consumption and emissions, and accelerate the application of carbon capture technologies.

Fifth, boost the growth of carbon sequestrating agriculture and eco-industries. China should increase the carbon sequestration capacity of biomass products through deeper exploitation and better use of agricultural and forestry waste. Innovations like straw compost, organic fertilizer and no-till technologies can significantly enhance the carbon sequestration capacity of soil. The carbon sequestrating agriculture will make up 30 percent or more in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

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