China’s Party Plenum Recommends Climate Actions in the 12th Five Year Plan

In addition to the Party Plenum Communique (discussed on this site last week), China’s Communist Party in its annual meeting (called a Plenum) issued an “opinion” on the 12th Five Year Plan. This essentially is a set of instructions and parameters to drafters of the plan. My colleague Fong Wee Kean in the WRI Beijing office translated the full paragraph 22 on climate change into English. The Party comes out with a communiqué each year, much of which generally addresses political rather than policy issues, but this type of specific policy instruction comes out only before the Five Year Plan. Climate change was a far less prominent issue in China five years ago, and thus, this is the most comprehensive public statement the Chinese Communist Party has made on climate change.

Informal Translation of the Portion of the Chinese Communist Party Opinion on the 12th Five Year Plan:

Section 6, Item 22 – Aggressively Address Climate Change

China will effectively control GHG emissions by making substantial energy intensity reductions and carbon dioxide emission intensity reductions as the binding indicators for climate actions. While improving energy efficiency, it is necessary to reasonably control the overall energy consumption and the excessive growth of high energy consuming industries. The examination of energy saving targets and responsibilities will be strengthened, and energy savings laws, regulations and standards will be improved. The promotion and regulation of a comprehensive mechanism for energy savings markets will be emphasized. Concerted effort will made in implementing key energy savings projects, the promotion of advanced energy saving technologies and products, and the implementation of energy performance contracting (EPC). It is also vital to focus efforts on key sectors such as manufacturing, buildings and transportation. Besides the above energy saving measures, it will be vital to adjust the energy consumption structure by increasing the percentage of non-fossil fuels. Enlarging forest coverage will also be emphasized as it could increase the carbon storage capacity. As parts of efforts for climate adaptation, China will emphasize capacity building to address extreme weather events. A mechanism to establish a statistical system for monitoring GHG emissions, energy savings and emission reduction will be developed. Scientific research on climate change will be strengthened, and R&D on and application of low carbon technologies will be expedited. A carbon trading market will be established gradually. China will continue to insist the principle of common by differentiated responsibility, and will aggressively participate in international cooperation on climate change issues.