State Council to release emission reduction action plan

By Zhang Fang and Li Huiru
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 9, 2011
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China's State Council is set to release a detailed action plan setting out China's commitment to address climate change. The plan's central aim is a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP during the State Council's 12th five-year plan period (2011-2015).

The plan, passed at a State Council meeting in November, outlined both the main goal and the specific measures which would be implemented in order to achieve the ambitious emissions reduction target.

Xie Zhenhua, head of Chinese delegation to UN climate conference in Durban []

Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Committee []

Xie Zhenhua, head of China's delegation to the Durban climate talks, said Wednesday during the ongoing climate change talks that China would fulfill its commitment to cutting CO2 emissions in the next five years by implementing and following the measures set out in the action plan.

The plan aims to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions per-unit of GDP and control greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydro fluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The plan will also strengthen policies and institutional mechanisms in order to deal with issues related to climate change. It will also establish a calculation system for greenhouse gas emissions, and promote the carbon trading market.

The plan contains a range of compulsory targets. These include:

• A 17 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per-unit of GDP by 2015 and a 16 percent reduction in energy consumption per-unit GDP compared with 2010 levels.

• An increase (to 11.4 percent) in the proportion of consumption of non-fossil energy to the consumption of primary energy.

• A 12.5 million hectares increase in the acreage of new forests, raising the forest coverage rate to 21.66 percent and increasing the forest growing stock by 600 million cubic meters.

According to the plan, every province in China will be allocated specific emissions targets. Of the country's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, Guangdong Province has been handed the most challenging task: It must cut its carbon intensity by 19.5 percent. Tianjin, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces must achieve cuts of 19 percent in the next five years. Beijing faces the stiff challenge of cutting its carbon intensity by 18 percent. Hebei, Liaoning and Shandong provinces must also achieve 18 percent cuts.

To ensure implementation of the measures, China will first study and then enact special laws which address climate change. In addition, relevant laws, regulations, rules and standards will be revised in line with climate change measures and guidelines.

China will also establish a performance-based accountability system to improve the official performance appraisal mechanism, strengthen the organizational constructions in addressing climate change, and gradually improve national controls and monitoring systems for national greenhouse gas emissions. It will also increase spending in order to address the issue of climate change.

At the same time, China is continuing its regional low-carbon pilot projects, in which the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities chosen to undertake the projects are asked to compile low-carbon development plans. Low-carbon pilot projects will also be carried out on industrial parks, where, supported by low-carbon energy, logistics and buildings, existing high-tech development zones, economic and technological development zones and other industrial parks will be updated. This will accelerate the transformation of traditional industries to a low-carbon model and establish low-carbon industrial zones.

In addition to the provincial and industrial level low-carbon pilot projects, China will also carry out community-based low-carbon pilot projects. The projects will set green, convenient, energy efficiency and low-carbon requirements, which will be combined with the construction of affordable state housing and urban real estate development projects.

China is working hard to encourage all sectors of society to embrace low-carbon activities. It plans to gradually increase the proportion of low-carbon office supplies by developing a government procurement system for low-carbon products. Industries, including, but not limited to, the iron and steel, building materials, electricity, coal, petroleum, chemicals, nonferrous metals, textiles, food, paper, transportation, railway and construction industries will be asked to develop an action plan to control greenhouse gas emissions. China also has plans to establish a "national low-carbon day" in order to actively promote an all-embracing low-carbon lifestyle.

Additionally, China will better implement related international conventions related to climate change. It will also prepare and submit the report on China's implementation of the Conventions according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol requirements. It will learn lessons from the international carbon emissions trading market in order to promote the gradual establishment of gradually a domestic carbon emissions trading market.

The country will further reform the price formation mechanism of carbon emissions trading by standardizing voluntary trading in emission reduction and discharge rights.

China will continue to strengthen dialogues and increase exchanges with developed countries and will initiate comprehensive South-South cooperation on issues related to climate change. It will also conduct capacity building and training in response to climate change; and carry out technological cooperation programs in order to address the problems raised by climate change.

An official announcement about the plan is expected soon.

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