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Nation to set obligatory carbon goals

2020-11-06Source: China Daily

Global climate governance has long been a topic of significant concern for the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED). In its 2020 policy recommendations to the Chinese government, the CCICED proposes that "it will be necessary to mainstream climate resilience into national/local government planning and budgets, accelerate a national carbon pricing system and incorporate climate indicators into the Central Environmental Inspection Program." The policy recommendations raised by the CCICED are highly valued by the Chinese government. In a news conference on October 28, Li Gao, head of climate change at China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period is key for China's climate efforts as the country eyes new targets in order to reach its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions peak before 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2060. The ministry and other relevant government bodies will make concerted efforts to help different regions establish road maps, action plans and supporting policies so they can hit their carbon emissions peaks. Relevant efforts will be incorporated into the Central Environmental Inspection Program and examinations will be rolled out on the progress of different regions in reaching CO2 emission peaks, Li added. This reflects the positive contribution made by the CCICED.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on September 22 that China is willing to contribute more to the fight against climate change, as it aims to bring carbon emissions to a peak by 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 with more forceful policies and measures. 

"Generally speaking, while comprehensively ratcheting up climate action and establishing the mechanism needed to boost high-quality economic development and environmental protection, we need to promote fundamental transitions in the structures of the economy, industry and energy consumption," Li said a news conference.

Li said the country will come up with a national goal on carbon intensity reduction in line with the new targets. While the national goal will be included in the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development, obligatory goals will also be set for different regions, and intensified inspections will be made, he added.

The ministry and other relevant government bodies will make concerted efforts to help different regions establish road maps, action plans and supporting policies so they can hit their carbon emissions peaks, he added.

"The country will strictly control the intensity of energy consumption, especially fossil fuels," he said. "While enhancing management of non-centralized coal burning operations, it will also replace gasoline and natural gas in an orderly manner."

He said the country will need to build up a new electric power system that better aligns with a high proportion of renewable energy as it promotes low carbon actions in areas including transportation and construction.

Plans unveiled by developed countries usually call for completing the transition from peak to neutrality in 50 to 70 years, while China only has 30 years to finish its transition.

"This is a huge challenge … it's not a task without any difficulties. We need to make arduous efforts," he said.

He added, however, that the enhanced targets, announced at a time when the economy is recovering after being battered by COVID-19, "show the country's determination to cope with climate change" and also send out a strong signal that China will stick to a path of high-quality economic development and environmental protection.

"From now on, we need to make sustained efforts to advance with one five-year plan after another," he stressed.



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