2. Staying Committed to a Green and Low-Carbon Path to Development
China has been actively responding to climate change in a responsible manner. Considering this to be a major opportunity to transform its growth model, China is actively exploring a green and low-carbon path to development, one that remains within the limits of resources, energy, and the environment, and is protective of our planet.
Making coordinated efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. It is essential for China to coordinate its efforts to pursue all-round and greener economic and social development in the new development stage. The country amended the Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution in 2015 and added specific provisions, providing a legal basis for the coordinated control of atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases and reduction of pollution and carbon emissions. To further coordinate the functions, initiatives, and mechanisms for responding to climate change and protecting the eco-environment, China has defined major areas and key tasks covering strategic planning, policies and regulations, institutions, pilots and demonstrations, and international cooperation. China has invested a major effort in seven landmark campaigns to keep the skies blue, control pollution caused by diesel trucks, protect and restore the Yangtze River ecosystem, improve the water environment of the Bohai Sea region, improve black and fetid water bodies in cities, protect water sources, and control pollution in agriculture and rural areas. With action plans and concrete targets and measures, these campaigns serve to drive the overall progress and bring notable improvements to the eco-environment.
Creating a spatial configuration for green development. Since territorial space is where we pursue eco-environmental progress, we must create time and room for natural ecosystems to rehabilitate themselves. China has created orderly and science-based strategies for agricultural, ecological, urban, and other areas. It has piloted the policy of designating permanent basic cropland areas, drawing redlines for protecting ecosystems, and delineating boundaries for urban development. It has drawn redlines for identified protected areas (PAs), areas that are ecologically vital and vulnerable but not included in PAs, and areas with important potential ecological value, thus increasing their carbon sequestration capacity.
Developing green and low-carbon industries. The basic solutions to resource, environmental, and ecological problems are to establish and improve an economic system featuring green, low-carbon, and circular development, and to pursue greener economic and social development in all respects. To shape green development models and green ways of life, China has formulated a plan for national strategic emerging industries with the aim to: Guide green consumption, promote green products and increase the proportion of new-energy vehicles and new energy use, with an emphasis on innovation and the application of green and low-carbon technologies.
Promote industry systems for efficient energy conservation, state-of-the-art environmental protection, and resource recycling, boosting the growth of the new-energy vehicle industry, new energy industries and energy-saving and environmental protection industries.
Develop a unified certification and labeling system for green products and foster a green market by increasing the supply of green products. It has also pressed ahead with industrial restructuring through the following measures: Issuing and continuously updating the catalog for guiding industry restructuring to steer non-governmental investment. Transforming and upgrading traditional industries. Boosting high-quality development of manufacturing. Cultivating and developing emerging industries. Providing greater support to green and low-carbon industries such as energy conservation, environmental protection, clean production, and clean energy.
Resolutely curbing the haphazard development of energy-intensive and high-emission projects. China has strictly controlled the haphazard expansion of energy-intensive and high-emission projects, shutting down outdated production facilities in accordance with laws and regulations, and scaling down overcapacity at a faster pace. To achieve this, it has.Implemented strict market access standards for 13 industries including iron & steel, ferroalloy, and coking, tightening requirements on land, environmental protection, energy conservation, technology, and safety. Put in place the national policy on differential electricity prices, raising standards for the differential electricity prices for energy-intensive products and expanding the scope of differential electricity prices. Released, 12 times, lists of enterprises in key industrial fields that were required to shut down outdated production facilities, and conducted annual supervision and inspection from 2018 to 2020 to ensure the elimination of outdated production facilities in accordance with laws and regulations.Made the expansion control a top priority in the effort to peak carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. It required local governments to clearly identify all energy-intensive and high-emission projects, produce category-based management proposals, carry out special inspections, strictly punish any such projects constructed or operated in contravention of regulations, and implement list management, category-based handling, and dynamic monitoring of energy-intensive and high-emission projects. It has established working mechanisms on openly criticizing entities for wrong-doing, early warnings on energy use, regulatory talks, and accountability, gradually forming sound working and regulatory systems.
Improving and adjusting the energy mix. The energy sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. China has continuously intensified its efforts in energy conservation and emissions reduction and accelerated energy mix readjustment to build a clean, low-carbon, safe, and efficient energy system. To achieve this, it has: Defined a new strategy for energy security that promotes a green revolution in energy consumption, supply, technology, and systems, strengthens international cooperation in an all-round way, prioritizes the development of non-fossil fuels, promotes the green development of hydropower, makes comprehensive and coordinated progress in wind and solar power development, pursues the orderly development of nuclear power under the precondition of guaranteed safety, develops biomass energy, geothermal energy, and marine energy based on local conditions, comprehensively increasing the rate of renewable energy use. Driven the supply-side structural reform of coal by cutting overcapacity in coal, strengthening safe, intelligent, green, and efficient exploitation and clean and efficient use of coal, promoting clean, efficient, and high-quality development of coal-fired power industries, reducing the consumption of coal and replacing it with other fuels, taking comprehensive measures to manage the use of coal in non-industrial sectors, and promoting the substitution of coal and petroleum by electricity as end-use energy. Expanded reform of the energy system, promoting efficient allocation of energy and resources.
Reinforcing efforts in energy conservation and greater energy efficiency. To further guarantee the fulfillment of responsibilities in meeting energy conservation and energy efficiency enhancement targets, China has: Implemented a system for controlling energy intensity and energy consumption, and set targets for both at the provincial level with supervision and performance evaluation. Incorporated energy conservation indexes into the index system for evaluating the performance in environmental progress and green development to facilitate the transformation in development philosophy. Strengthened energy conservation management of major energy-using entities, organized the implementation of key energy conservation projects, and popularized advanced energy conservation technologies by releasing 260 key energy conservation technologies in 13 industries, including coal, electricity, iron & steel, nonferrous metals, petrochemicals, chemicals, and building materials. Established a "Frontrunner” system for energy efficiency, and improved the energy efficiency labeling system by issuing 15 batches of catalogs for products with energy efficiency labels and related implementation rules. Implemented Energy Performance Contracting and strengthened regulations and standards on energy conservation. It has issued and implemented over 340 national standards on energy conservation and promoted the certification of energy-saving products accordingly. To date, almost 50,000 energy-saving product certificates have been issued, thus boosting the energy conservation industry. Required public institutions to play an exemplary role in energy conservation and energy efficiency enhancement. Approximately 35 percent of Party and government offices at and above county level, and all central CPC and government departments have shifted onto an energy-saving trajectory. In all, 5,114 public institutions have become demonstrative units for energy conservation. Strengthened energy conservation in the industrial sector by carrying out special national inspections on energy conservation alongside campaigns on energy-saving diagnosis, on increasing the energy efficiency of general equipment, and on promoting energy conservation and establishing standards for green development. Strengthened demand-side management by setting up demonstrative enterprises/industrial parks and selecting reference products/technologies in the demand-side management of electricity in industrial fields, which would have achieved the visualized, automated, and intelligent management of electricity consumption.
Pushing for the economical and intensive use of natural resources. To further ecological progress, China has designated conserving resources and protecting the environment as a fundamental national policy. To achieve the economical and intensive use of natural resources, it has: Pursued fundamental changes in the way of using resources and pressured all PARMs to put their existing resources to good use by improving the mechanism for coordinating the consumption of existing resources and the arrangements for additional resources, and by reforming the way of managing land use plans. Imposed strict controls on land use through standards, having organized the formulation and revision of land use standards for highways, industries, photovoltaic (PV) projects, and airports and strictly reviewed the land use of construction projects in accordance with the standards. Carried out assessment and evaluation on economical and intensive land use and worked hard to popularize land-saving technologies and models. Driven the green development of the mining industry and intensified efforts to develop eco-friendly mines by establishing and implementing index management systems for the minimum exploitation and use of mineral resources and for the evaluation of "Frontrunners". It has released 360 advanced and applicable technologies for the conservation and comprehensive use of mineral resources. Strengthened regulation and control over the use of marine resources and prohibited all coastal reclamation activities except those for major national projects. Promoted the protection and restoration of ecosystems in areas with problems carried over from reclamation activities of the past and strictly protected natural shorelines.
Actively exploring new, low-carbon models of development. China has actively explored low-carbon models of development. It has encouraged local governments, industries, and enterprises to explore low-carbon paths to development based on their individual conditions, and launched pilots and demonstrations on green and low-carbon development in fields such as energy, industry, construction, and transport, thus shaping a basic comprehensive and multi-tiered system for low-carbon piloting. It has launched low-carbon pilots in 10 provincial-level units and 77 cities, and explored low-carbon models of development and institutional innovations in respects including organizational leadership, support policies, market mechanisms, statistical systems, evaluation and assessment, coordination and demonstration, and cooperation and exchanges. The carbon intensity of these pilot areas has fallen faster than the national average, and a number of low-carbon models of development with distinctive features have emerged.