Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution ( 2015 )

This law's purpose is "protecting and improving the environment, preventing and controlling atmospheric pollution, safeguarding public health, advancing ecological civilization and promoting the sustainable development of economy and society" (Art 1). It calls for comprehensive measures to be taken against the pollution "caused by the burning of coal, industrial production, motor vehicles and vessels, dust as…read more

Energy Conservation Law ( 2007 )

The Act aims to strengthen energy conservation, particularly for key energy-using entities, promote efficient use of energy and adoption of energy conservation technology. The Act requires the government to encourage and support the application of renewable energy in various areas. Monitoring arrangements: the National People’s Congress serves as the monitoring body.…read more

Renewable Energy Act (Legislative) ( 2006 )

This Act describes duties of the government, business and other users in renewable energy development and use. It includes measures and goals relating to mandatory grid connection, price management regulation, differentiated pricing, special funds and tax reliefs, and sets the goal to realise 15% of China’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Energy – supply-side…read more

Forest Law of the People’s Republic of China ( 1984 )

This law aims at protecting, cultivating and rationally exploiting forest resources, accelerating territorial afforestation and making use of forests in water storage and soil conservation, climate regulation, environmental improvement and supply of forest products to meet the requirements of socialist construction and people's livelihood. Chapter IV focuses on tree planting and afforestation efforts. It notably…read more

13th Five-Year Plan ( 2016 / Mitigation Framework )

The 13th Five Year Plan lays down the strategy and pathway for China's development for 2016-2020 and includes concrete environmental and efficiency targets. It gives top priority to economic development to reach a GDP growth rate of 6.5-7% per annum, consistent with the goal of becoming a 'moderately prosperous society' by 2020, guided by five key principles…read more

Energy Development Strategy Action Plan (2014-2020) ( 2014 )

Published by the State Council, the Plan aims to reduce China’s high energy consumption per unit GDP ratio through a set of measures and mandatory targets, promoting a more efficient, self-sufficient, green and innovative energy production and consumption. The targets include a cap on annual primary energy consumption set at 4.8bn tonnes of the standard…read more

National Plan For Tackling Climate Change 2014-2020 ( 2014 )

The National Plan For Tackling Climate Change is a comprehensive government strategy that covers mitigation, adaptation, scientific research and public awareness. It includes chapters on “Status and Prospects”, “Guidelines And Main Objectives”, “Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, “Adapting To The Impacts of Climate Change”, “Implementation Of Pilot Demonstration Projects”, “Improving The Regional Response To Climate Change”,…read more

The National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation ( 2013 / Adaptation Framework )

Reflecting China’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published China’s National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation in November 2013. The strategy lays out clear guidelines and principles for climate change adaptation and proposes some specific adaptation goals. It outlines a wide range of measures to be implemented by 2020…read more

12th Five-Year Plan for the Development of National Economy and Society (2011-2015) ( 2011 )

The Five-Year Plan aims to create more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth and boost domestic consumption that will begin to re-orientate the economy away from heavy industry and resource-intensive production towards a more consumption-based and resource-efficient economy. The plan’s targets are to decrease the carbon intensity of GDP by 17% by 2015; to decrease…read more

This table compares quantified targets in countries’ NDCs with those in their national laws and policies. The purpose is to indicate the level of alignment. Robust, consistent and measurable targets are crucial to the credibility of countries’ commitments to the Paris Agreement.

For further analysis and explanation, see our October 2018 policy brief.

Economy-wide

NDC Laws and National Policies

Achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to peak early; 60% to 65% reduction of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 2030 compared to 2005 level

Economy Wide | Intensity Target And Trajectory Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 2005

Source: NDC

Decrease the carbon intensity of GDP by 17% by 2015 against a 2011 baseline

Economy Wide | Intensity Target | Target year: 2015 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): 12th Five-... (2011 / Executive)

Reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 18% by 2020 against a 2015 baseline

Economy Wide | Intensity Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

Cut carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2020

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2005 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Energy

NDC Laws and National Policies

10% natural gas consumption in the primary energy consumption by 2020; 30 million cubic meters coal-bed methane production by 2020

Gas | Target year: 2020

Reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by at least an additional 3.4% in 2016 by 2016 against a 2015 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2016 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

100 GW solar by 2020

Renewable Energy: Solar | Target year: 2020

Increase the share of non-fossil fuel primary energy consumption to 11.4% by 2015

Renewable Energy | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2015 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): 12th Five-... (2011 / Executive)

200 GW wind by 2020

Renewable Energy: Wind | Target year: 2020

Non-fossil energy from 12% to 15% of primary energy consumption by 2020

Renewable Energy | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

20% non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption by 2030

Energy: General | Target year: 2030

Source: NDC

Geothermal energy to reach 50 million tons of standard coal by 2020

Renewable Energy | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

Non-fossil energy will account for 15% of primary energy consumption by 2020

Renewable Energy | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

Develop biomass energy. We will give priority to the construction of biomass polygeneration projects, accelerate the development of biogas power generation, and promote urban waste incineration and landfill gas power generation. To realize the industrialization of biomass forming fuels, accelerate the industrialization of biomass liquid fuels, and actively develop biomass gas supply. In 2020, the installed capacity of biomass power generation in China will reach 30 million kilowatts, the annual biomass consumption of biomass fuel will reach 50 million tons, the annual utilization of biogas will reach 44 billion cubic meters, and the annual utilization of biological liquid fuel will reach 130 billion cubic meters.

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Promote the diversification of solar energy use. Build a batch of "10,000 kilowatt-class" large-scale photovoltaic power plants. In 2020, the installed capacity of solar power generation will reach 100 million kilowatts, and the installed area of ​​solar thermal utilization will reach 800 million square meters

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Vigorously develop wind power. Accelerate the construction of 80 million-kilowatt-class wind power bases in the “Three North Region” and coastal areas, and build inland small and medium-sized wind power and offshore wind power projects in line with local conditions, and strengthen all kinds of grid-connected auxiliary projects. In 2020, the installed capacity of grid-connected wind power will reach 200 million kilowatts

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Installed capacity of conventional hydropower will strive to reach 350 million kilowatts, and the annual power generation capacity will be 1.2 trillion kilowatt-hours by 2020

Renewable Energy | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Decrease the energy intensity of GDP by 16% by 2015 against a 2011 baseline

Energy Intensity | Intensity Target | Target year: 2015 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): 12th Five-... (2011 / Executive)

Reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 15% from 2015 levels by 2020 against a 2015 baseline

Energy Intensity | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

By 2020, the total primary energy consumption will be controlled at around 4.8 billion tons of standard coal.

Energy Intensity | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

For group access standards, coal consumption for newly-built coal-fired power generation units is lower than 300 grams per kilowatt-hour of standard coal, and pollutant emissions are close to those of gas-fired gas turbines by 2014

Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2014 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

Total energy consumption capped at 5 billion metric tons of standard coal equivalent by 2020

Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

By 2020, shale gas production will strive to exceed 30 billion cubic meters by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

By 2020, it will cumulatively increase the verified geological reserves of conventional gas by 5.5 trillion cubic meters, and produce 178 billion cubic meters of conventional natural gas per year by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

By 2020, the proportion of coal consumption will be controlled within 62% by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

By 2020, natural gas will account for more than 10% by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Fuels | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

By 2020, the total primary energy consumption will be controlled at about 4.8 billion tons of standard coal, and the total coal consumption will be controlled at about 4.2 billion tons by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Energy Dev... (2014 / Executive)

Safe and efficient development of nuclear power. On the basis of ensuring safety, the company will effectively develop nuclear power, upgrade the safety level of nuclear power plants, and steadily advance nuclear power construction. The total installed capacity in 2020 reached 58 million kilowatts. by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Nuclear | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

The proportion of natural gas consumption in primary energy consumption will exceed 10%, and the utilization volume will reach 3.6 trillion cubic meters by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Increase the percentage of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15% by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

LULUCF

NDC Laws and National Policies

Increase the forested area by 40 million hectares and the forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters compared to the 2005 levels.

Sustainable Forest Management

Increase forest coverage by 21.6% by 2015 against a 2011 baseline

Afforestation | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2015 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): 12th Five-... (2011 / Executive)

Additional 4.5 billion cubic meter forest stock volume compared to 2005 level

LULUCF/Forestry: General

Source: NDC

Forest growth - 21.66% to 23.04% of coverage and growing stock of 15.1 to 16.5 billions meters cube by 2020

Afforestation | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

Stable arable land at 124.3 m hectares by 2020

Land Use Change | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

Ensure that the grassland vegetation coverage reaches 56% by 2020

Land Use Change | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

Lower the area of land used for construction per unit of GDP by 20% by 2020 against a 2015 baseline

Preservation | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

Increase the proportion of forest area and stock volume by 40 million ha and 1.3 billion m3 respectively from a 2005 baseline by 2020 against a 2005 baseline

Afforestation | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2005 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Effective protection rate of natural wetlands will reach more than 60%, and the area of desertified land will be over 50% of the controllable area. More than 95% of the state's key protected wild animals and over 90% of the minimum wild plant species will be effectively protected against desertification by 2020.

Preservation | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2013 | Source(s): The Nation... (2013 / Executive)

By 2020, the rate of “three-step” grasslands will reach 55.6% by 2020

Preservation | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2013 | Source(s): The Nation... (2013 / Executive)

By 2020, the forest coverage rate will reach 23% and the forest reserves will exceed 15 billion cubic meters by 2020

Preservation | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2013 | Source(s): The Nation... (2013 / Executive)

Transportation

NDC Laws and National Policies

30% public transport in cities by 2020

Public Transport | Target year: 2020

Source: NDC

Air freight: In 2020, CO2 emissions from passenger and freight turnover of civil aviation units were reduced by about 11% by 2020 against a 2010 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2010 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Waterway transportation: In 2020, the CO2 emissions per unit of passenger and freight turnover was 13% by 2020 against a 2010 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2010 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

In 2020, the amount of CO2 emission from railway transportation units will be reduced by 15% compared with 2010. Rail transport. We will improve the railway transportation network, accelerate the electrification of railways, increase the proportion of electric locomotives that undertake the passenger and freight transport of railways, increase the capacity of railway transportation, and promote the energy-saving dispatch of railways. We will actively develop containerized sea-rail transport, accelerate the elimination of old locomotives, and develop energy-saving low-carbon locomotives and EMUs. Strengthen the low-carbon transformation and operation management of stations and other facilities.

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2010 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

In 2020, the CO2 emission per unit passenger transport volume was 5% lower than in 2010, and CO2 emissions per unit freight turnover was 13% lower than in 2010.

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2010 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

In 2020, the sharing rate of public transportation in large and medium-sized cities will reach 30% by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Public Transport | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Industry

NDC Laws and National Policies

35% HCFC-22 reduction (compared to 2010 level) by 2020 | 67.5% HCFC-22 reduction (compared to 2010 level) by 2025 | Achieve effective control on emissions of HFC-23 by 2020

HFCs | Target year: 2025

Source: NDC

Low-carbon park pilots: 150 or so low-carbon industrial demonstration parks will be built by 2020

Energy Intensity | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

By 2015, the level of carbon dioxide emissions from large-scale power generation enterprise groups will be controlled at 650 g/kWh

Energy Intensity | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2015 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

The value-added CO2 emissions per unit of industry will fall by about 50% by 2020 against a 2005 baseline

Energy Intensity | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2005 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Tourism

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

1000 low-carbon commercial pilot by 2020: selected commercial establishments such as representative stores, hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions to carry out pilot projects, and strengthen the operation and supply chain management through the enhancement of new technologies such as energy-saving and renewable energy, and significantly reduce CO2 emissions from pilot commercial organizations.

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Agriculture

NDC Laws and National Policies

Zero growth of fertilizer and pesticide utilization by 2020

Agriculture: General | Target year: 2020

Source: NDC

Policy: Strengthen the training of farmers to adapt to technology, and by 2020, the penetration rate of practical adaptive technical training for rural labor will reach 70% by 2020 against a 2013 baseline

Adaptation | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2013 | Source(s): The Nation... (2013 / Executive)

Coastal Zones

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

Ensure that the natural shoreline does not fall below 35% by 2020 against a 2015 baseline

Adaptation | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): 13th Five-... (2016 / Executive)

Buildings

NDC Laws and National Policies

50% share of green buildings in newly built buildings of cities and towns by 2020

Buildings | Target year: 2020

Source: NDC

It is hoped that by 2020, the percentage of green buildings in new towns will reach 50% by 2020 against a 2014 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): National P... (2014 / Executive)

Cross-Cutting Area

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Disaster Risk Management (DRM)

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Environment

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Health

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Social Development

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Urban

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Waste

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Water

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

China is the world’s second largest economy and largest GHG emitter. With a population of over 1.3bn, its per capita income is still relatively low and levels of development differ widely between regions.

China’s actions to tackle climate change have focused mainly around energy production and energy efficiency. Climate change was first officially referred to in a policy document guiding legislation in China’s National Climate Change Programme of 2007, and repeated in China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change 2008. In 2009, the National People’s Congress passed a compre­hensive Climate Change Resolution. 

Although there is not yet a comprehensive climate change law in China, in 2010 the government announced that China would begin work on climate change legislation. After an initial period of research, a review of international experiences and inputs from several academic organisations, the first formal draft of the law was completed in the second half of 2014 and, as of November 2014, a comprehensive formal consultation was under way with government ministries, industry and other stakeholders. Passage of the law is expected in 2015 or 2016. Meanwhile, China’s domestic climate-related laws are dominated by a focus on saving energy, reflecting the need to improve energy efficiency to enable the country to keep pace with energy demand as the economy grows strongly.

China has passed an Energy Conservation Law and the 2005 Renewable Energy Law and is planning a new Energy Law, the official draft of which contains 14 chapters totalling 140 articles. The chapters are: General Principles; Energy Comprehensive Management; Energy Strategy and Planning; Energy Exploration and Transfer; Energy Supply and Service; Energy Conservation; Energy Reservation; Emergency Supplies; Energy in Suburban Areas; Energy Price and Taxes; Energy Technology; International Co-operation; Monitoring and Investigation; and Legal Responsibilities. The goals are relatively vague, with clearer targets to be set by ministries, including the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Transportation and the Bureau for Tax.

China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, published in 2011, includes a target to reduce the carbon intensity of the economy by 17% of 2010 levels by 2015, in line with the 40–45% from 2005 target by 2020 committed to under the Copen­hagen Accord. The Plan also increases the number of pollutants included in the “total emissions control” system and sets new targets for energy intensity (a reduction of 16% by 2015), the percentage of non-fossil fuel energy (to increase to 11.4% by 2015 from 8% in 2011) and an increase in forest coverage of 21.6%. The specific policies and mechanisms required to implement these targets are the responsibilities of ministries and provinces.

The State Council approved a package of policies and measures aimed at meeting the energy and carbon targets included in the 12th Five-Year Plan. This package included provincial and municipal-level carbon and energy intensity targets, recognising that the provinces and municipalities have different economic structures, efficiency options and levels of wealth.

In July 2013, to strengthen top-level planning on climate change, the State Council adjusted the composition and personnel of the National Leading Group for Addressing Climate Change, led by Premier Li Keqiang. All provinces have established their own leading groups to address climate change with the provincial governors chairing them.

To underpin China’s top-level planning on climate change, the NDRC has developed a National Plan to Address Climate Change (2014-2020) that outlines the framework for addressing climate change in China, including targets, tasks and safeguarding measures.  Under this framework, all provinces and municipalities must develop their own plans. Anhui, Gansu, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Ningxia, Qinghai, Sichuan, Xinjiang and Yunnan Provinces plus Chonqqing and Tianjin Municipalities, among others, have already published their plans.

In November 2014 at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) leaders’ meeting in Beijing, the US and Chinese Presidents made a joint announcement on climate change and clean energy co-operation. President Xi Jinping announced targets to peak CO2 emissions around 2030, with the intention to try to achieve the goal earlier, and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20% by 2030. The joint announcement marked the first time China has agreed to peak its CO2 emissions.

The future of China’s climate policy will be heavily influenced by the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020), which is under development and will be endorsed by the NPC in March 2016.

Sub-National Activity

China often pilots policies and mechanisms at the sub-national level and, if successful, scales up these initiatives to the national level. The emissions trading pilots referred to below are a good example. Legislation is also tested in this way. For example, in 2012, Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress passed the Provisions of Carbon Emission Management of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone to strengthen the management of carbon emission trading, the first such legislation in China. Similarly, the provinces of Shanxi and Qinghai (with economies the size of Hungary and Bolivia respectively) have, in the last two years, passed provincial climate change laws and legislation is being developed in Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces (economies the equivalent size of Malaysia and Switzerland). These sub-national efforts will inform the development of national law.

China has also been piloting the concept of low carbon cities and provinces.  Initially, five provinces and eight cities were selected to pilot low carbon communities. In 2012 this was expanded to include 29 new provinces and cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hainan Province and Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province. The pilots are required to develop goals and principles, including exploring “low carbon green development models”. They are also required to establish measuring and reporting systems for GHG emissions and plans to curb those emissions.

Carbon pricing

The 12th Five-Year Plan encourages the use of market mechanisms to encourage emissions reductions. Seven provinces and municipalities (Beijing, Chongqing, Guangdong, Hubei, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin) are piloting emissions trading systems, the experiences of which will inform the design of a national scheme, due in 2016. Consideration is also being given to introducing a carbon tax but it is unclear whether, and how, this might be implemented.

Energy demand

Since 2012 China has invested CNY4.9bn (USD801m) within the central government’s budget and CNY 2.6bn (USD425m) of the central fiscal bonus to support 2,411 projects on high-efficiency, energy-saving technologies, model products and industries, contracted energy management, developing energy-saving monitoring institutions, energy-saving buildings and green lighting. The government estimates that these projects have saved the energy equivalent of more than 19.79m tons of standard coal compared with the baseline scenario.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued the Special Blueprint for Conserving Energy in the Construction Sector during the 12th Five Year Plan Period. By the end of 2012, heat metering and energy efficiency renovations on 590m m2 of existing housing stock in northern China had been completed, saving the energy equivalent of 4m tons of standard coal and reducing about 10 million tons of CO2 emissions compared with the baseline scenario.

Energy supply

In late 2014 the State Council published an Energy Action Plan, the most important element of which was a target to cap coal use.  The plan calls for capping annual coal consumption by 2020 at 4.2 billion tons and also reducing coal’s share of China’s primary energy mix to less than 62% by that year.

According to Chinese government figures, as at the end of 2013 the carbon intensity of China’s GDP had fallen by 28.5% from 2005 levels, non-fossil fuels made up 9.8% of primary energy consumption and forest coverage had increased from 18.21% in 2005 to 21.6%.

In 2012 the State Council published a White Paper on energy policy. At the same time it announced that China’s nuclear programme, suspended after the Fukushima disaster, would resume but at a slower pace than initially planned. The NDRC’s Natural Gas Development Plan during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period, says that the supply capacity of natural gas will reach 176bn m3 in 2015 and that 18% of urban residents will use natural gas. The NDRC, along with the National Energy Administration, also announced the Development Plan for Shale Gas (2011-2015); The Ministry of Finance and the National Energy Administration announced the Notice on Issuing the Subsidy Policies of Exploring and Utilising Shale Gas and allocated special funds to support shale gas projects. In 2013, the State Council issued the Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, which aims to control the consumption cap of coke and increase the use of clean energy.

In 2012, the Ministry of Science and Technology released Specific Plans for Clean Coal Technology.  The 12th Five-Year Plan highlights clean coal technology as a priority in advanced energy, focusing on efficient clean coal-fired power generation, advanced coal conversion, advanced energy-efficient technology, regulation of pollutants and resource use technology. The Government Offices Administration of the State Council has carried out research projects on new energy and renewable energy applications for public institutions, building the energy efficiency of government and public institutions. The Ministry of Land and Resources has carried out a series of research programmes on geothermal investigation and exploration, geological traces of climate change and geological carbon sinks, as well as initiatives to make technological breakthroughs on the geological storage of CO2.

In 2012 the State Council issued a note entitled Several Opinions on the Sound Development of the Photovoltaic Industry, articulating policies and measures to accelerate the uptake of solar energy and the National Energy Administration issued ‘Development Plans’ for Solar, Biomass and Geothermal energy. In 2012 China invested CNY127.7bn (USD21bn) in hydropower, CNY 77.8bn (USD12.7bn) in nuclear power and CNY61.5bn (USD10.1bn) in wind power.

By the end of 2012, total power generation capacity had reached 1,147GW, up by 7.9%. The generation of non-fossil fuel, including, hydro, nuclear, wind and solar energies, represented 28.5% of the whole, 4.2 percentage points higher than in 2005. China had 54 supercritical coal-fired power stations in operation, the highest number in the world.

The announcement in November 2014 at the APEC leaders’ Summit in Beijing, setting a target to expand total energy consumption coming from zero-emission sources to around 20% by 2030, will require China to deploy an additional 800-1,000GW of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity by 2030 – more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States.

According to Chinese government figures, at the end of 2013 the carbon intensity of China’s GDP had fallen by 28.5% from 2005 levels, non-fossil fuels made up 9.8% of primary energy consumption and forest coverage had increased from 18.21% in 2005 to 21.6%.

REDD+ and LULUCF

The State Council has approved the second stage of the plan to curb the source of sandstorms in Beijing and Tianjin. The plan covers six provinces and municipalities and 138 towns. The State Forestry Administration issued the Plan on the Division of Work on Enhancing the Forest’s Role in Tackling Climate Change to Implement the Durban Climate Change Conference Agreement, and has begun to draft the fifth stage of the plan on constructing  a ‘shelterbelt’ in north-east, northern and north-west China. The country also continues to promote afforestation and, from 2012 to the first half of 2013, 10.25m ha was greened in the afforestation drive, and 4.96bn trees were planted in a volunteer tree-planting drive. In addition, the State Forestry Administration has carried out research on how forests can mitigate the impacts of climate change, and organised potential and process studies of carbon sequestration in a typical ecosystem.

Transportation

The Ministry of Transport has made efforts to improve energy efficiency and emission reductions in key areas of the transportation sector. It continued to undertake the “special action on low-carbon transportation” for 1,000 companies dedicated to vehicles, ships, roads and ports. The ministry issued the Guidelines for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation to encourage local governments to showcase model pedestrian and bicycle transportation systems. The Ministry of Science and Technology has rolled out a pilot green car project, billed as “10 cities, 1,000 green cars,” in 25 cities across the nation. It is estimated that the equivalent to 4.2m tons of standard coal or 9.17m tons of CO2 emissions could be saved in the transportation industry.

Additionally, the government has selected 26 cities including Tianjin, Chongqing, Beijing and Kunming to establish pilot low-carbon transportation systems, with 26 trial projects and 40 harbours of “drop and pull” transportation, pushing forward pilot projects in inland water transportation using natural gas-fuelled boats and establishing gas and petroleum pilot recycle stations at crude oil terminals. Studies have also been commissioned to establish an evaluation index system for low-carbon transportation cities, ports, and the construction of low-carbon ports and sailing routes and low-carbon highways.

Adaptation

Given its size and geographic diversity, China’s climate is complex. In recent years China has suffered from an increase in frequency of extreme weather conditions. Many areas in the south have experienced extremely high temperatures, and there have been increased urban, regional and mountain floods, landslides and mudslides. Many typhoons have hit land at the same time, affecting a broad area. And there have been moderate to severe droughts in central and north-west Yunnan Province, with impacts on agriculture and people’s lives. In 2013, reflecting China’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, the NDRC published China’s National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation. The strategy, which sits under the 12th Five Year Plan, lays out clear guidelines and principles for climate change adaptation and proposes some specific adaptation goals. Provinces including Zhejiang, Henan and Liaoning have also carried out their own regional strategic studies for addressing climate change. Reflecting China’s water shortage, the Ministry of Water Resources has undertaken more than 10 significant research programmes such as the impact of climate change on water resources security and how to respond to it. The Ministry of Health and the State Family Planning Commission has initiated research on adaptation mechanisms, assessment and prediction to address the impact of climate change on human health.

To date, China does not have any litigation listed.

China’s legal system is largely a civil law system. The national legislative power is exercised by the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The NPC is responsible for criminal law, civil law, state organ law and other basic laws. While the NPC is not in session, the Standing Committee of the NPC is responsible for supplementing and amending parts of the laws promulgated by the NPC, provided they do not contradict with the basic principles of these laws. There is no division of legislative power between the central government and the provincial governments in China. The most important policy documents in China are the Five Year Plans that set the overall direction of China’s economy and often include top-level targets. These plans are complemented by laws, passed by the NPC, and policies developed by government ministries.

Last modified 22 August, 2017