IV. Policies and Actions to Decelerate Climate Change

China has adopted proactive policies and taken active actions to slow the process of climate change. It has adopted a number of policies and measures to adjust the economic structure, change the development patterns, save energy and raise the efficiency of energy use, and optimize energy mix and promote afforestation. Marked achievements have been made.

Adjusting the Economic Structure to Promote the Optimizing and Upgrading of the Industrial Structure

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the adjustment of the economic structure and the transformation of the economic development patterns, and has formulated and implemented a series of industrial policies and special programs to make the reduction of re-sources and energy consumption an important part of its industrial policies. By promoting the optimizing and upgrading of China's industrial structure, it aims to form a mode of economic growth featuring "less input, less consumption, less emission and high efficiency."

— Accelerating the development of the service sector. The government issued Opinions on the Acceleration of the Development of the Service Sector in 2007, in which it sets the goal of raising the proportion of added value from the service sector in the GDP by three percentage points from 2005 to 2010. It has also made clear policies that provide support to key areas, weak links and new fields of the service sector. As a result, modern services such as tourism, finance and logistics are booming.

— Making high-tech industry larger and stronger. In 2007, the government issued the 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010) for such industries as high-tech, e-commerce and information technology, suggesting that the proportion of added value of high-tech industry in the total industrial added value be raised by five percentage points from 2005 to 2010. The government has formulated and implemented policies and measures conducive to the development of such high-tech industries as digital television, software, integrated circuits and bioengineering. It has quickened the fostering of newly emerging industries that conform to the requirements of saving energy and reducing emissions. High-tech industries, including information technology, bioengineering, aeronautics, space flight, new energy, new materials and marine industries are developing rapidly. The revitalization of high-tech manufacturing industry has been effective, while construction of infrastructure and basic industries has made great progress.

— Accelerating the pace of eliminating backward production capacity. In 2007, the government announced a timetable for different areas to close down their backward production facilities in 13 industries during the latest Five-year Plan period. Last year saw the stoppage of 14.38 million kw of small thermo-power generating units, and the reduction of 46.59 million tons of iron-smelting capacity, 37.47 million tons of steelmaking capacity and 52 million tons of cement production capacity. More than 2,000 heavily polluting papermaking plants, chemical plants, and printing and dyeing mills were ordered to close down, as were 11,200 small coal mines.

— Limiting the excessively rapid expansion of industries that consume a large amount of energy and discharge heavy emissions. Relevant policies have been promulgated to control new projects. Standards of market entry for high-energy-consuming industries have been promulgated. By raising the standard of entry of industry for high energy consumption, enhancing the entry threshold of energy conservation and environmental protection, and by adjusting tax rebates for exports and customs duties, the government is working to restrain the export of commodities that consume large amounts of energy, discharge large quantities of emissions and use precious raw materials. The expansion of high-energy-consuming industries is being slowed.

Making Great Efforts to Save Energy and Raise Energy Efficiency

The Chinese government attaches great importance to energy conservation, and has made it a fundamental state policy. For a long time it has pursued a policy of putting equal emphasis on both development and energy conservation with priority being given to conservation. The Outline of the 11th Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development (2006-2010) considers it a major strategic task for China to build an energy-conserving and environmental-friendly society. It stipulates that the energy consumption per-unit GDP in 2010 should be 20 percent lower than that in 2005, and that this goal is binding.

— Placing energy conservation and emission reduction in a more prominent position. The State Council has set up a leading group on energy conservation and emission reduction, and issued the Comprehensive Work Plan for Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction to guide work in this field.

— A responsibility system is in place, establishing goals for energy conservation and emission reduction. The State Council has issued the Plan and Method Regarding the Monitoring of Energy Conservation, Emission Reduction and Evaluation, stating clearly that leading cadres in all provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government) and key enterprises will be appraised by their performance in achieving the goals for energy conservation and reduction of emission of major pollutants. Those who fail in this task will be held responsible.

— Accelerating the construction of major energy conservation projects. In 2006, the state supported 111 key energy-conservation projects by using funds raised from issuing treasury bonds and investment within the central budget, resulting in an energy-conservation capacity of 10.1 million tons of standard coal. In 2007, the state supported 681 key energy-conservation projects by using funds raised from issuing treasury bonds, investment within the central budget and central treasury capital, resulting in an energy-conservation capacity of 25.5 million tons of standard coal. Technological transformation conducted by enterprises under the direction of local governments resulted in an energy-conservation capacity of 60 million tons of standard coal. It is expected that an energy-conservation capacity of 240 million tons of standard coal will be created after ten major energy-conservation projects are implemented from 2006 to 2010. With subsidies from the government, 50 million energy-saving bulbs are now being distributed to households all over the country, and within the coming three years more than 150 million energy-saving bulbs will be distributed.

— Promoting energy conservation and emission reduction in key fields. An energy-conserving campaign has been launched among more than 1,000 enterprises to encourage them to conduct auditing on their energy use, formulate energy-saving plans, and make public their energy use situation. A campaign has also been launched in major energy-consumption enterprises to check their compliance with the energy efficiency indicators. The government is earnestly promoting "green" and environmental-friendly buildings that save energy and land. Newly constructed buildings must meet the compulsory energy-saving standards. Energy-saving renovations to existing buildings are carried out, and the task has been assigned to different regions to install measured heating equipment and complete energy-saving renovation to a total of 150 million sq m of floor space. Pilot work has been launched to set up a monitoring system on energy conservation in office buildings of state agencies and large public buildings in 24 provinces and cities. The government will continue to improve the fuel consumption restriction standard for motor vehicles, and enforce the standard strictly. State agencies at the central level have checked and remodeled their air-conditioning, lighting and boiler systems for energy-conservation purposes. They have also installed energy-conservation lighting in all their office buildings.

— Raising the efficiency of energy development and conversion. More high-efficiency, energy-conservation equipment is used in the power-generating and coal-producing sectors, and the government has quickened its pace to eliminate small thermo-power stations and coal mines. In 2007, electricity generating units of 6,000 kw or above saw their coal consumption drop from 448 g of standard coal per kwh in 1980 to 370 g. Energy and electricity consumed per production unit of raw coal in 2007 dropped by 5.9 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, as compared with the previous year.

— Implementing economic policies conducive to energy conservation. The resources tax for some mineral products has been readjusted, and prices for refined oil and natural gas have also been readjusted in a timely fashion. Policies aimed at saving energy in power generating and distribution have been adopted. The prices for electricity generated by small thermo-power plants transmitted by the state power grid have been lowered, and electricity price differentials have been adopted more broadly. Regulations have been promulgated regarding capital management that supports enterprises in making energy-saving technological transformation, popularizing high-efficiency lighting products, installing monitored heating systems in buildings and making energy-conservation renovations. Policies have also been introduced to encourage the production and use of environmentally-sound motor vehicles with small displacement and to restrict the use of plastic shopping bags. A compulsory government energy-saving products procurement system has been put into place.

— Strengthening the construction of the legal system. The Energy Conservation Law has been amended. The General Office of the State Council has issued the Circular on Strictly Following the Temperature Control Standards for Air-conditioners in Public Buildings. Since 2007, national compulsory standards have been promulgated to restrict energy consumption for the making of 22 products (including thermo-power and sodium hydroxide) that consume excessive energy. Supervision and spot checks are now conducted on 16 categories of products, including motors and energy-saving bulbs, that are end-users of energy. Government departments in charge of energy conservation and super-vision enforce the energy-conservation administrative regulations in accordance with the law.

Thanks to all these efforts, energy consumption per-unit GDP in 2006 and 2007 across China was lowered by 1.79 percent and 3.66 percent, respectively. In 2007, key enterprises in the power-generating, iron and steel, building materials and chemicals industries which consume 10,000 tons of standard coal or more annually saw energy consumption of 33 of their 35 major products drop, with energy consumption rising for only two products. The energy thus saved was equivalent to 38.3 million tons of standard coal. The energy saved in 2006 and 2007 by these enterprises equaled 147 million tons of standard coal.

Developing Renewable Energy and Optimizing Energy Mix

The Law on Renewable Energy and related policies were enacted in 2005 to give priority to renewable energy when transmitted on the state power grid, to purchase renewable energy at full price, to give users of renewable energy price discounts and to share the utilization of renewable energy among the whole society. A dedicated fund was created for developing renewable energy to support the evaluation and investigation of renewable energy resources, related technological re-search and development, construction of pilot and demonstration projects, and the development and utilization of renewable energy in the countryside. By the end of 2007, the annual installed capacity of hydropower in China was 145 million kw, generating 482.9 billion kwh of electricity, ranking first in the world in both installed capacity and power so generated. An average of 26 million kw of installed capacity was added in 2006 and 2007, with an average increase of 12 percent in each year. The scale of wind power increased several-fold. Currently, with installed capacity of more than 6 million kw, China ranks fifth in the world. In 2006 and 2007, some 3.05 million kw of installed capacity was added, an average annual increase of 148 percent. The area of solar energy collectors has reached 110 million sq m, keeping China the world leader in this field for many years. The installed power generating capacity using biomass is 3 million kw, and the annual production capacity of ethanol as biofuel is more than 1.2 million tons. The installed capacity of nuclear power is 9.06 million kw, an increase of 30.5 percent over 2006. The proportion of coal in the consumption of primary energy dropped from 72.2 percent in 1980 to 69.4 percent in 2007. The proportion of hydropower, wind power and nuclear power combined was raised from 4 percent to 7.2 percent in the same period. The total amount of renewable energy available for use is approximately 220 million tons of standard coal (including large hydropower facilities).

According to the Mid- and Long-term Plan for the Development of Renewable Energy and Mid- and Long-term Plan for the Development of Nuclear Power, China will continue to promote the comprehensive cascading development of water-power-rich river valleys. It will quicken the pace of constructing large hydropower stations on the precondition that the environment is well protected and adequate relocation of the local residents is ensured. Medium and small hydropower stations will also be developed where local conditions permit. China is determined to develop rapidly more of its wind-power potential to the scale that industrialization can be achieved. It will raise its capacity for developing and manufacturing wind-power equipment and make every effort to construct several wind-power farms of one million kw and wind-power bases of 10 million kw. China will energetically push forward the development and utilization of biomass energy, with emphasis on marsh gas, and solid and liquid biofuel, and on the use of biomass to generate electricity. China will actively take advantage of solar power to generate electricity and use it for heating while strengthening the research, development and utilization of new energy and alternative energy. It will make better use of coal-bed gas and gas in mines, and develop small and scattered sources of electricity with coal-bed gas as fuel. China enthusiastically develops nuclear power, is working hard to reform the nuclear power system and spur mechanism innovation in an attempt to establish a market-oriented nuclear power development mechanism. It will strengthen its capacity for developing and manufacturing nuclear power equipment, and raise its ability to absorb imported technology and make new innovations on this basis. It will strengthen the construction of nuclear power transmission and related technical services, as well as the training of qualified personnel. It will implement preferential policies on taxation and investment that will promote the development of nuclear power, improve nuclear power safety, and quicken the enactment of laws and regulations in this field. Finally, China will push forward the use of clean coal and develop efficient and clean power generating technology, such as large-scale combined cycle units and poly-generation, and promote technology for carbon dioxide sequestration.

Developing a Recycling Economy to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Attaching great importance to developing a recycling economy, the Chinese government is doing its best to reduce the amount of resources consumed, and reuse and recycle items so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their sources and in the course of production. In recent years, a recycling economy is turning from an idea to action, and developing rapidly across the country. The state has enacted laws and regulations such as the Clean Production Promotion Law, Law on the Prevention of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes, Law on a Re-cycling Economy and Methods on Management of Urban Garbage. It has promulgated the Opinions on Accelerating the Development of a Recycling Economy, setting forth the general strategy, short-term goals, basic means, and policies and measures for the development of a recycling economy. It has also promulgated an evaluation index system for a recycling economy. In addition, the Regulations Regarding the Management of the Recycling and Treatment of Discarded Electrical Equipment is to be promulgated soon.

Two batches of demonstration pilot projects have been carried out, resulting in a recycling economy development model at three levels, i.e., enterprises, between enterprises or industrial parks, and in society in general. Pilot projects featuring recycling and treatment of old and useless household electrical appliances and remanufacturing of automobile parts have made satisfactory progress. Preferential policies concerning taxation on the comprehensive utilization of disposables and the recycling and utilization of renewable energy have been improved. More support is being given to key projects in the recycling economy by treasury bonds and investment within the central budget. Through importation, absorption, digestion and self-innovation, some advanced technologies with proprietary intellectual property rights have emerged, in particular, a group of key technologies which play a leading role in respective sectors have been developed, demonstrated and popularized. Applicable technologies, such as low-temperature power generation by waste heat, coke dry-quenching, power generation by differential pressure at blast furnace top, cement produced using calcium carbide slag in the drying process, and disposal of garbage in blast furnaces and rotary kilns, are now widely used. In 2005, nearly one third of the raw materials for China's steel, nonferrous metals and pulp industries came from renewable resources, while 20 percent of the raw materials for cement and 40 percent of the raw materials for walls came from industrial solid waste. Marked progress has been made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions during the production of semiconductors, including sealing and packaging. The level of greenhouse gas emissions during the making of electronic information products remains low.

The state has formulated policies that encourage the recycling and utilization of landfill gas, and has promulgated industrial standards such as the Policies on Technologies for the Treatment of Urban Garbage and Pollution Prevention, and Technical Standards on Sanitary Landfill of Garbage, which promote the retrieval and utilization of landfill gas and reduction of emissions of methane and other green-house gases. Meanwhile, China is carrying out research into and popularizing advanced technologies for garbage burning and recycling, and utilization of landfill gas. Relevant technological standards are being promulgated, and the garbage collection and transportation sys-tem is being improved. Garbage classification has begun in some areas; comprehensive utilization of garbage as a resource has been raised to promote the industrialization of the treatment of garbage. Supervision is being tightened on enterprises engaged in garbage treatment. As a result, the detoxification rate of garbage was raised from 2.3 percent in 1990 to 52 percent in 2006.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agriculture and the Countryside

China has witnessed great progress in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and the countryside in recent years. In 1,200 counties across the country, fertilizers are applied according to the results of tests of local soil. Guidance is given to farmers for the scientific application of fertilizers and to reduce the emission of nitrous oxide. Protective farming featuring mainly crop stalk coverage and non-tillage are being popularized. Crop stalks are also used to feed domestic animals, the manure and urine of which are then applied to fields to add organic carbon to the soil. A compensatory mechanism for grassland ecology has been created: a balance is maintained between the grass and livestock; a system is adopted to prohibit grazing, to have a stretch of grassland rest or grazed in rotation; and the numbers of livestock grazing are controlled to prevent it from deteriorating. Meanwhile, renewable energy technologies are being vigorously developed in the countryside, such as the use of marsh gas, solar energy and stoves that save on firewood and coal. By the end of 2007, there were over 26.5 million households in China using marsh gas, saving 16 million tons of standard coal annually, tantamount to a reduced emission of 44 million tons of carbon dioxide. China has constructed 26,600 breeding farm marsh gas projects, and installed 42.86 million sq m of solar-powered heaters in the countryside, 14.68 mil-lion sq m of solar energy houses, 1.12 million solar energy stoves and more than 200,000 small wind-driven generators. China has established some demonstration spots for the gasification and solidification of crop stalks. It has installed firewood- and coal-saving stoves in 151 million households and energy-saving stoves in 34.71 million households.

Promoting Afforestation and Strengthening the Capacity of Carbon Sinks

In the past 20-odd years, some four million ha of trees have been planted every year with the help of continuously increasing investment from the central government. Meanwhile, the state also encourages citizens to take part in tree planting. By the end of 2007, millions of people had planted 51.54 billion trees all over China. In recent years, through the reform of the collective forest right system, farmers' enthusiasm for tree planting and forest protection has been aroused. At present, China has 54 million ha of man-made forest, its timber volume reaching 1.505 billion cu m, with the country's rate of forest coverage going up from 12 percent in the early 1980s to 18.21 percent now. In 2006, some 35.1 percent of China's urban areas, or 1.32 million ha, were covered with grass or trees. It is estimated that tree-planting activities in China between 1980 and 2005 effectively absorbed 3.06 billion tons of carbon dioxide, that forest management absorbed 1.62 billion tons of carbon dioxide, and that carbon dioxide emission was reduced by 430 million tons because of improved forest protection. All this has further enhanced the capacity of forest as the sinks of greenhouse gas.

Intensifying R&D Efforts to Deal with Climate Change Scientifically

— Including response to climate change in the plan for scientific development. The Outline of China's Mid- and Long-term Development Plan for Science and Technology promulgated in 2006 made energy and environment priority fields in the development of science and technology. It listed the observation and monitoring of global climate change and countermeasures as priority issues in the field of environ-mental protection. China's Special SciTech Campaign to Cope with Climate Change enacted in 2007 set forth phased goals for scientific work as a response to climate change during the 11th Five-year Plan period (2006-2010) and long-term goals up to the year 2020. It mainly discusses the following topics and makes relevant countermeasures: the scientific explanation of climate change, research and development of technologies that can be used to control greenhouse gas emissions, technologies and measures that help adapt to climate change, and ma-jor strategies and policies to cope with climate change.

— Strengthening the cultivation of personnel and construction of re-search bases. Thanks to efforts made over the past 20 years or so, a contingent of specialists has been formed in the field of climate change who are doing basic and applied research across fields and disciplines. They have made pioneering research achievements, providing important scientific support for China to cope with climate change. A batch of national-level scientific research bases has been established, and a large observation network system, including the National Climate Monitoring Network, has basically been set up. China has strengthened research into and development of advanced technologies dealing with climate change, as well as their demonstration. The integration of re-search, teaching and production has accelerated the industrialization process of advanced technologies.

— Continuously increasing investment in scientific and technological work related to climate change. While sources of funds from the government remain relatively stable, efforts are being made to raise money from other sources, attracting funds from society at large for scientific and technological research and development concerning climate change. During the 10th Five-year Plan period (2001-2005), the government invested more than 2.5 billion yuan in scientific and techno-logical research dealing with climate change through national science and technology plans such as the Gongguan Plan1, 863 Plan2 and 973 Plan3. By the end of 2007, the National Science and Technology Plan for the 11th Five-year Plan period (2006-2010) had appropriated more than seven billion yuan for scientific research into energy conservation and emission reduction. In addition, the state, through other channels, has invested large amounts of funds for scientific research into climate change.

— Key areas of scientific research. China has decided to place the emphasis of its research on technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions or slow the process. These include technologies that save energy and enhance its efficiency; technologies for renewable energy and new energy; technologies that can control, dispose of or utilize greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane in major industries; biological and engineering carbon fixation technology; technologies for the clean and efficient exploitation and utilization of coal, petroleum and natural gas; technologies for manufacturing advanced equipment for coal- and nuclear-generated power; technologies for capturing, utilizing and storing carbon dioxide; and technologies that control greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and how land is used.


1. The "Gongguan Plan" is a national plan aimed at tackling key and difficult scientific and technological problems facing China's economic construction and social development. It was first implemented in 1982, and has been linked with China's Five-year Plans since then.

2. The "863 Plan" is a plan initiated by the Chinese government in March 1986 for the development of high-tech industries.

3. The "973 Plan" refers to the National Plan of Basic Research for Some Key Areas initiated by the government in 1997.