A five-year plan (2016-2020) to save energy and cut emissions was issued by the State Council on Jan 5, 2017, setting a goal to cut energy consumption by 15 percent in 2020 compared with 2015.
It vows to continue upgrading industry by cutting high-emission industries and promoting new industries, including cutting-edge information technology, new materials, new energy, biotechnology, energy-saving industry and digital creativity industry. It expects that the output value of low-carbon new industrials will surpass 10 trillion yuan in 2020.
Coal will be used more efficiently, and recyclable energy sources will be encouraged. The plan’s goal is that in 2020, the use of coal will account for less than 58 percent of total energy consumption.
Energy saving in key sectors will be promoted, including manufacturing, construction, transportation, trading, agriculture and public institutions.
The plan also urges cutting emissions of major pollutants from manufacturing industries, mobile sources, people’s daily life and agriculture.
Emission in key areas, especially those suffering from heavy air pollution, is underlined. Coal consumption will be controlled in those areas, and gas is encouraged as a replacement for coal. High emission industries in major rivers, including Yangtze River, Yellow River and Pearl River, are also urged to be controlled in order to deal with water pollution.
Authorities should take measures to urge industrial pollutant sources to reach emission standards, such as conducting environmental impact assessments and issuing pollutant emission licenses. As for mobile sources such as automobiles and ships, emission standards will be raised.
Circular economy will be promoted, with waste generated by industry, agriculture and urban residents being recycled. The government will support resource recycling companies and encourage them to use internet technologies.
Supportive policies are also issued, including a pricing mechanism for resources, monetary and tax incentives and financing support. “Environmental protection tax will be levied,” the plan says.
Market mechanism will be used. For example, in 2017, a carbon emission trading market will be set up in China.
In addition, the plan also encourages everyone in China to join the effort by consuming in a low-carbon way, participating in public-interest activities, and bringing legal action against polluters. Media is also encouraged to cover contamination and violations against regulations.