|White paper: China's policies and actions on climate change|
The State Council Information Office published on Wednesday a white paper entitled China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change. The document, composed of eight chapters, describes that China actively participates in worldwide efforts to address climate change, earnestly observes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and plays a constructive role in international cooperation in this regard. The full text of the white paper follows:
Global climate change and its adverse effects are a common concern of mankind. Ever since the industrial revolution, human activities, especially the massive consumption of energy and resources by developed countries in the process of industrialization, have increased the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, produced conspicuous impacts on the natural ecosystems of the Earth, and posed severe challenges to the survival and development of human society.
As a developing country with a large population, a relatively low level of economic development, a complex climate and a fragile eco-environment, China is vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, which has brought substantial threats to the natural ecosystems as well as the economic and social development of the country. These threats are particularly pressing in the fields of agriculture and live-stock breeding, forestry, natural ecosystems and water resources, and in coastal and eco-fragile zones. Therefore, China's priority task at present is to adapt itself to climate change. The multiple pressures of developing the economy, eliminating poverty and mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases constitute difficulties for China in its efforts to cope with climate change, since the country is undergoing rapid economic development.
A responsible developing country, China sets great store by climate change issues. Fully aware of the importance and urgency of addressing climate change, following the requirements of the Scientific Out-look on Development, and taking into overall consideration of both economic development and ecological construction, domestic situation and international situation, and present and future, China has formulated and implemented a national plan for coping with climate change, and adopted a series of policies and measures in this regard. China combines the handling of climate change with its execution of its sustainable development strategy, acceleration of building a re-source-conserving and environmental-friendly society and construction of a country of innovation. Taking economic development as the core objective, and placing emphasis on energy conservation, optimization of the energy mix, reinforcement of ecological protection and construction, and scientific and technological progress as backup, China strives to control and mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases and continuously enhance the capability of adapting itself to climate change.
China actively participates in worldwide efforts to address climate change, earnestly observes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (hereinafter referred to as the UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, and plays a constructive role in international cooperation in this regard.
I. Climate Change and China's Situation
The latest scientific research findings show that the average temperature of the Earth's surface has increased by 0.74 degree Celsius over the past century, from 1906 to 2005, and is expected to further rise by 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century. The rise of global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is mainly caused by the increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, chiefly consisting of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, emitted as a result of human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes of land use.
China's temperature rise has basically kept pace with global warming. The latest information released by the China Meteorological Administration shows that the average temperature of the Earth's surface in China has risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius over the past century, from 1908 to 2007, and that China experienced 21 warm winters from 1986 to 2007, the latter being the warmest year since the beginning of systematic meteorological observations in 1951. The national distribution of precipitation in the past half century has undergone marked changes, with increases in western and southern China and decreases in most parts of northern and northeastern China. Extreme climate phenomena, such as high temperatures, heavy precipitation and severe droughts, have increased in frequency and intensity. The number of heat waves in summer has grown, and droughts have grown worse in some areas, especially northern China; heavy precipitation has increased in southern China; and the occurrence of snow disasters has risen in western China. In China's coastal zones, the sea surface temperature and sea level have risen by 0.9 degree Celsius and 90 mm, respectively, over the past 30 years.
Scientific research predicts that climate warming trend in China will further intensify; frequency of extreme climate events is likely to wax; uneven distribution of precipitation will be more visible than before and the occurrence of heavy precipitation will increase; drought will expand in scope; and the sea level will rise faster than ever.
The basic conditions of China present the country with great challenges in addressing issues regarding climate change.
— A complex climate and a fragile eco-environment determine that China's task of adapting itself to climate change is arduous. China is characterized by a continental monsoon climate, and most parts of China have a wider range of seasonal temperature change compared with other continental areas at the same latitude. Many places in China are cold in winter and hot in summer, and high temperatures generally prevail in the country at large in summer. Precipitation is unevenly distributed in time and space, concentrating in the flood season, and annual precipitation decreases from the southeast coast to the northwest interior. China has a fragile eco-environment, with serious soil erosion and desertification and a forest coverage rate of 18.21 percent, only 62 percent of the world's average. The area of natural wetlands is comparatively small; most grasslands are highly frigid meadows and desert steppes; temperate grasslands in northern China are in danger of de-generation and desertification due to the impacts of drought and deterioration of the eco-environment. With a coastline over 18,000 km long, China is vulnerable to the adverse effects of sea level rises.
— A large population and a relatively low level of economy determine that China's development task is a formidable one. The population of the mainland of China reached 1.321 billion at the end of 2007, ac-counting for 20 percent of the world's total. China has a comparatively low level of urbanization, with an urbanization rate of 44.9 percent in 2007, lower than the world's average. The large population also brings huge employment pressure. New urban labor force entrants of 10 mil-lion and above need jobs every year; as the urbanization process moves forward, tens of millions of rural laborers transfer to the urban areas every year. Statistics from the International Monetary Fund show that the per-capita GDP (gross domestic product) of China in 2007 was US$2,461, ranking 106th, a low-to-middle place, among 181 countries and regions. China is characterized by unbalanced regional economic development and is still nagged by a large income gap between urban and rural residents. The country is still troubled by poverty, with an impoverished rural population of 14.79 million inadequately fed and clad. Those who just have enough to eat and wear and earn an unstable, low income number 30 million nationwide. Moreover, China has a relatively low level of science and technology and weak capacity of independent innovation. Developing the economy and improving people's lives are imperative tasks currently facing China.
— China's ongoing industrialization process and its coal-dominated energy mix determine that its task of controlling greenhouse gas emissions is a tough one. Historically, China's greenhouse gas emissions have been very low. According to data from relevant international re-search institutions, from 1904 to 2004, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning in China made up only 8 percent of the world's total over the same period, and cumulative emissions per capita ranked 92nd in the world. China's carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption in 2004 totaled 5.07 billion tons. As a developing country, China still has a long way to go in its industrialization, urbanization and modernization. To advance further toward its development objectives, China will strive for rational growth of energy demand, which is the basic precondition for the progress of all developing countries. However, its coal-dominated energy mix cannot be substantially changed in the near future, thus making the control of greenhouse gas emissions rather difficult.
II. Impact of Climate Change on China
China is one of the countries most susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change, mainly in the fields of agriculture, livestock breeding, forestry, natural ecosystems, water resources, and coastal zones.
Impact on Agriculture and Livestock Breeding
Climate change has already produced visible adverse effects on China's agriculture and livestock-raising sectors, manifested by in-creased instability in agricultural production, severe damages to crops and livestock breeding caused by drought and high temperatures in some parts of the country, aggravated spring freeze injury to early-budding crops due to climate warming, decline in the output and quality of grasslands, and augmented losses caused by meteorological disasters.
The impact of future climate change on agriculture and livestock breeding will still be mainly adverse. It is likely there will be a drop in the yield of the three major crops — wheat, paddy rice and corn; changes in the agricultural production layout and structure; accelerated decomposition of organic elements in the soil; enlarged scope of crop diseases and insect pests; accelerated potential desertification trend of grasslands; rising frequency of natural fire disasters; sagging livestock production and reproductive ability; and growing risk of livestock epidemics.
Impact on Forestry and Other Natural Ecosystems
The impact of climate change on China's forestry and other natural ecosystems are mainly manifested in the following aspects: the north-ward shift of the northern boundaries of eastern subtropical and temperature zones and early phenophase; upward shift of the lower boundaries of forest belts in some areas; elevation of lower line of highland permafrost and decreased area of permafrost; rising frequency of animal and plant diseases and insect pests with marked changes in the distribution of regions; reduced area and overall shrinking trend of glaciers in northwestern China; and threat to the oasis ecosystem posed by accelerated melting of glaciers and snow cover.
Future climate change will further increase the fragility of ecosystems, diminish the distribution areas of main afforestation and rare tree species, enlarge the outbreak scope of forest diseases and insect pests, and increase the frequency of forest fires and fire-vulnerable areas, shrink inland lakes and cause the decrease and functional degeneration of wetland resources, speed up the reduction of the area of glaciers and permafrost, and significantly alter the spatial distribution pattern of permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and damage bio-diversity.
Impact on Water Resources
Climate change has already caused changes in the distribution of water resources all over China. Over the past two decades, the gross amount of water resources of the Yellow, Huaihe, Haihe and Liaohe rivers in northern China has been visibly reduced, whilst that of rivers in southern China has slightly increased. Floods happen more frequently, droughts get worse, and extreme climate phenomena show a conspicuous rise.
It is predicted that future climate change will have a great impact on the temporal and spatial distribution of water resources in the following ways: augmenting annual and inter-annual changes and boosting the occurrence of extreme natural disasters, including flood and drought. In particular, accelerated melting of glaciers in western China owing to climate warming will further lessen the area of glaciers and glacier ice reserves, thus having significant impacts on rivers and run-offs with sources in glacier melt water. Climate warming will possibly reinforce the drought trend in northern China, and intensify water scarcity and contradiction between water supply and demand.
Impact on Coastal Zones
The past 30 years have witnessed in China an accelerating trend of sea level rise, which has caused seawater intrusion, soil salinization and coastal erosion, damaged the typical marine ecosystems of coastal wetlands, mangrove swamps and coral reefs, and diminished the ser-vice functions and bio-diversity of coastal zones. Sea temperature rise and seawater acidification resulting from climate change have given rise to a lack of oxygen in some maritime areas, the degradation of marine fishing resources and the survival of rare and endangered species.
It is predicted that the sea level in the coastal zones of China will continue to rise. Sea level rise will undermine the capacity of public drainage facilities in coastal cities, and impair the functions of harbors.
Impact on Society, Economy and Other Fields
Climate change will also produce far-reaching impacts on society, economy and other fields, and cause huge losses to the national economy. Corresponding economic and social costs will have to be paid for addressing climate change. In addition, there will be increased chances of disease occurrence and spread, ensuing dangers to human health, rising possibilities of geological and meteorological disasters and con-sequent threats to the security of major projects. The eco-environment and bio-diversity of nature reserves and national parks will be affected, accompanied by adverse effects on natural and cultural tourism re-sources, and augmented threats to the safety of life and property, and to the normal order and stability of social life.
III. Strategies and Objectives for Addressing Climate Change
To address climate change, China adheres to the following guidelines: To give full effect to the Scientific Outlook on Development, adhere to the fundamental state policy of resources conservation and environ-mental protection, control greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the country's capacity for sustainable development, center on securing economic development and accelerate the transformation of the pattern of economic development, focus on conserving energy, optimizing the energy structure and strengthening eco-preservation and construction, and rely on the advancement of science and technology, increase international cooperation, constantly enhance the capability in coping with climate change, and make new contribution in protecting the world environment.
To address climate change, China sticks to the following principles:
— To address climate change within the framework of sustainable development. Climate change arises out of development, and should thus be solved along with development. It is necessary to promote sustain-able development amidst efforts to address climate change, and strive to achieve the goal of win-win in both.
— To uphold the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," which is a core principle of the UNFCCC. Both developed and developing countries are obligated to adopt measures to decelerate and adapt to climate change. But the level of their historical responsibilities, level and stage of development, and capabilities and ways of contribution vary. Developed countries should be responsible for their accumulative emissions and current high per-capita emissions, and take the lead in reducing emissions, in addition to providing financial support and transferring technologies to developing countries. The developing countries, while developing their economies and fighting poverty, should actively adopt adaptation measures, reduce their emissions to the lowest degree and fulfill their duties in addressing climate change.
— To place equal emphasis on both deceleration and adaptation. Deceleration and adaptation are integral components of the strategy for coping with climate change. Deceleration is a long and arduous challenge, while adaptation is a more present and imminent task. The latter is more important for developing countries. The two must be well coordinated, and with equal stress placed on them.
— The UNFCCC and the Tokyo Protocol are the main programs for addressing climate change. The two documents lay the legal foundation for international cooperation in dealing with climate change, and reflect the common understanding of the international community. They are the most authoritative, universal and comprehensive international framework for coping with climate change. Their status as the kernel mechanism and leading programs should be unswervingly up-held, and other types of bilateral and multilateral cooperation should be supplementary.
— To rely on the advancement and innovation of science and technology. Technological advancement and innovation are the basis and support for tackling climate change. While promoting their own technological development and application, developed countries are obligated to promote international technological cooperation and transfer, and concretely materialize their promises to provide financial and technological support to developing countries, so that the latter can get the funds needed, apply climate-friendly technologies, and build up their capacity to decelerate and adapt to climate change.
— To rely on mass participation and extensive international cooperation. Dealing with climate change requires changes in the traditional ways of production and consumption, and the participation of the whole of society. China is working to build a resources-conserving and environmental-friendly society, foster a social atmosphere in which the enterprises and the public participate on a voluntary basis under the guidance of the government, and raise enterprises' awareness of corporate social responsibility and the public's awareness of the necessity of care for the global environment. A challenge faced by the entire world, climate change cannot be solved without global co-operation and concerted efforts. China will, as always, participate in all modes of international cooperation that are conducive to tackling climate change.
China National Plan for Coping with Climate Change, released by the Chinese government in June 2007, set the following objectives to be met by 2010: Policies and measures concerning control of greenhouse gas emissions should achieve significant results, the capability of adaptation to climate change should be relentlessly enhanced, climate-change-related research should be promoted and new development should be made in scientific research related to climate change. In addition, the public awareness of the importance of tackling climate change should be enhanced, and the institutions and mechanisms for dealing with climate change should be further strengthened.
Control of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
— Striving to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through accelerating the transformation of the country's economic development pattern, strengthening policy guidance concerning energy conservation and efficient utilization, intensifying administration of energy conservation in accordance with the law, speeding up development, demonstration and application of energy conservation technologies, giving full play to the role of new market-based mechanisms for energy conservation, enhancing public awareness of the importance of energy conservation, and accelerating the building of a resource-conserving society. Through these measures, the energy consumption per-unit GDP is expected to drop by about 20 percent by 2010 compared to that of 2005, and carbon dioxide emissions will consequently be reduced.
— Optimizing the energy consumption structure through developing renewable energy, boosting nuclear power plant construction and speeding up the development and utilization of coal-bed gas. The target by 2010 is to raise the proportion of renewable energy (including large-scale hydropower) in the primary energy supply by up to 10 percent, and the extraction of coal-bed gas up to 10 billion cu m.
— Controlling greenhouse gas emissions generated by industrial production through reinforcing industrial policies concerning the metallurgy, building materials and chemical industries, developing a recycling economy, raising resources utilization efficiency and strengthening control of emissions of nitrous oxide. By 2010, the emissions of nitrous oxide from industrial production should be no higher than in 2005.
— Striving to control emissions of methane by continuously spreading low-emission and high-yield rice varieties, semi-drought rice cultivation, scientific irrigation and the technology of application of fertilizers according to the results of tests of local soil, and strengthening R&D on fine ruminant animal breeds, large-scale breeding and management techniques, strengthening management of animal waste, waste water and solid waste, and expanding the utilization of methane.
— Striving to realize the target of a 20-percent increase in the forest coverage rate by 2010, and an increase of annual volume of carbon dioxide in carbon sinks by 50 million tons compared to that of 2005 through continuing key projects in afforestation, returning farmland to forest and grassland, and farmland capital construction, and implementing relevant policies.
Enhancing the Capacity of Adaptation to Climate Change
— Through improving the multi-disaster monitoring and early warning mechanisms, the policy-making and coordination mechanisms with more than one department involved, the action mechanism with extensive public participation, the capability of monitoring and forecasting meteorological disasters will be strengthened. By 2010, a number of meteorological disaster prevention projects will be completed and play a fundamental, overall and vital role in the economy and society, so as to enhance the country's comprehensive capacity to monitor, warn about and cope with meteorological disasters, and reduce the damage from them.
— Through shoring up farmland capital construction, adjusting cropping systems, breeding stress-resistant varieties, developing bio-technologies and other adaptive measures, by 2010 some 24 million ha of grassland will be improved, 52 million ha of grassland suffering from degradation, desertification and salinity will be restored, and the efficient utilization coefficient of agricultural irrigation water will be raised to 0.5.
— Through strengthening natural forest conservation and nature re-serve management, continuing key eco-protection projects, establishing important ecosystems, and stepping up natural ecological restoration, by 2010 some 90 percent of typical forest ecosystems and key national wildlife species will be under effective protection; nature reserves will account for 16 percent of the national territory; 250,000 sq km of land suffering from water and soil erosion will have been improved; 300,000 sq km of land will have been ecologically restored; and 22 million ha of desertified land will have been put under control.
— Through rational development and optimized allocation of water resources, improving new mechanisms for farmland water conservancy, strengthening measures for water conservation and hydrological monitoring, by 2010 the vulnerability of China's water resources to climate change will have been alleviated; concrete progress will have been made to build a water-conserving society; an anti-flood system of large rivers will be in place; and the standard for drought resistance of farmland will have been raised.
— Through scientifically monitoring the trend of sea level change, controlling marine and coastal ecosystems, rationally exploiting the coast, protecting coastal wetlands and planting coastal shelterbelts, China aims to restore the mangrove swamps by 2010, and raise the coastal areas' capability to resist marine disasters.
— Through strengthening basic research on climate change, further developing and improving research and analytical methods, and intensifying the training of professionals and decision-makers in relevant fields, China aims to keep up with international advanced level in fields related to climate change by 2010, so that it will have solid scientific ground for drafting national strategies and policies on climate change, and in participating in international cooperation in this regard.
— Through building up its innovation capacity, and promoting inter-national cooperation and technology transfer, by 2010 China will make big breakthroughs in technologies of energy development and conservation, and clean energy; quicken the industrial application of advanced technologies; enhance the technological capacity of agriculture, water conservancy and forestry sectors to adapt to climate change; and provide strong scientific support for efforts to address climate change.
Enhancing Public Awareness and Improving Management
— Through more publicity, education and training by means of modern information dissemination technologies to encourage public participation, by 2010 it is expected that public awareness of the problem of climate change will have been made universal, and a social environment conducive to addressing climate change will be in place.
— Through improving the multi-ministerial decision-making coordination mechanism and building an action mechanism involving a wide range of enterprise and public participation, China aims to establish an efficient institutional and management framework commensurate with the work to address climate change.
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 greenho