China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2012)

By | February 8, 2013

China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2012) is published lately as a demonstration of country’s policy to contain the climate change issue which is currently a global issue and more or less contributed and enhanced by China’s rapid economic development.  And this paper targets at explaining the country’s policies and actions focusing on achieving the targets well set hereunder in 2011 by the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National People’s Congress :-

To reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent;
To cut CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 17 percent; &
To raise the proportion of non-fossil fuels in the overall primary energy mix to 11.4 percent.
There are seven parts of the paper:-

I. Mitigating Climate Change

There are several key policies the government has implemented to assist to mitigate the climate change. First of all, upgrading and restructuring the traditional industries which tend to be energy consuming is considered as a major direction to reduce the climate change. Such structure changes could be most obvious in the government’s so call “Revitalize The Old Northeast Industrial Bases” strategy. Secondly, seven strategic emerging industries, i.e. energy conservation and environmental protection, new-generation information technology, biology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new energy, new materials and new-energy vehicles have been identified as the emerging industries with strategic importance would enjoy policy support as well as funding support to contribute to the reduction of climate change by increasing the proportion of industries which are less energy consuming and pollution. Thirdly, service industry is another major area to be supported and encouraged as service industry tend to generate much less greenhouse gas. Fourthly, the government has already the elimination policy on the so call “backward production capacity”. According to the report, In 2011, China shut down small thermal power generating units with a total generating capacity of 8 million kw and eliminated obsolete production capacity in the following industries: iron smelting, 31.92 million tons; steel production, 28.46 million tons; cement (clinker and mill), 155 million tons; coke, 20.06 million tons; plate glass, 30.41 million cases; paper, 8.3 million tons; electrolytic aluminum, 639,000 tons; copper smelting, 425,000 tons; lead smelting, 661,000 tons, and coal production, 48.7 million tons. With these major policies, the government also release relevant tax incentive policies and other accessory policies to ensure the effectiveness of its policy implementation.
II. Adapting to Climate Change

While the climate change has become a major issue in the globe without effective control yet, the government has at the same time planned on getting adapted to the happening climate change to ensure the life of the people in China is still durable under the climate change. As earlier as in 2001, The State Forestry Administration and the Qinghai government legally established the SNNR (Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve) to better protect the headwaters of the Yellow River, the Yangtze River, and the Mekong River. Such efforts together with more ongoing projects are developed to better protect the water resources and assist the industries to get adapted to the climate change, such as the agriculture. As deforestation is considered as another major evidence of climate change, China with huge annual demand of forest related resource has taken major actions to foster ecosystem in the forestry industry. Intensified efforts in forest management, prevention of forest fires and control of harmful pests, forest structure optimization, and improvement of forest health are known as the four major efforts thereto.

III. Promoting Low-carbon Pilot Projects
Low-carbon Pilot Projects such as setting up a voluntary emission trading system have been widely tested in selected areas, cities and industries to find out the practical measures and projects that could assist the reduce the impact / happening of the climate change. Such trails have been well evaluated as they tend to be of wider scale and could be promoted if good results are found. According to the report, In 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission initiated pilot programs for carbon emissions trading in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hubei, Guangdong and Shenzhen. The designated areas strengthened organization and leadership, established professional teams and earmarked funds for the pilot programs. They organized the compiling of an implementation plan for the carbon emission trading pilot program, defining the overall concept, objectives, key tasks, safeguards and project schedules. They studied and formulated regulations for the carbon emission trading pilot program and worked out the basic rules for the program. They have calculated and defined overall caps for greenhouse gas emissions in their regions, and formulated plans for distributing specific emissions targets. To develop a support system for the pilot programs, regulatory as well as registration and recording systems have been established and trading platforms have been developed in each pilot area. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong launched their pilot programs on March 28, August 16, and September 11, 2012, respectively.

IV. Strengthening Capacity Building

As stated in the report, in 2011, the State Council published the Work Plan for Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions During the 12th Five-Year Plan Period, a document compiled under the direction of the National Development and Reform Commission. The plan sets out the overall requirements and main objectives for the control of greenhouse gas emissions to 2015 and defines key tasks and policy measures for promoting low-carbon development. In 2012, the General Office of the State Council published the Work Division Scheme for the Work Plan for Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions During the 12th Five-Year Plan Period, which defines an overall framework for the implementation of the plan. All these plans are set to boost the top level planning of the low carbon development. In additional, statistics based systems are widely promoted in form such as forestry monitoring system to provide more information to the government as well as to other users for further reference.

The other three major parts of the paper are known as “Participation of the Whole Society”, “Proactive Participation in International Negotiations” and “Enhancing International Exchanges and Cooperation”.

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