Subject: Significant Emissions Reductions brought Dynamic Green Development during the 11th Five Year Plan
Date: Feb. 17th 2011
Translator: Xu Danmeng
Source: Xin Hua News Agency
Xin Hua News Agency, Beijing, 17th Feb. (Reported by Wu Jingjing) Coal province Shanxi, long burdened by environmental pollution and ecological disruption, started its fight against pollution and emissions reduction during the Eleventh Five Year Plan. Shanxi strictly restricted project approvals within 17 cities, counties and districts, denied approval for over 700 heavy polluted projects, and set up an elimination system to the most polluted one among 1236 heavy polluted enterprises and 1606 other facilities. During the last 5 years, with considerable improvements in environmental quality, Shanxi has found its place on the path of green development.
The transformation of Shanxi is the epitome of success stories for environmental improvements in China. In the Eleventh Five Year Plan, under the pressure of constraints aiming for major reductions in pollutants, emissions reduction became an important impetus for the transformation of economic development patterns and the optimization of economic structure. By utilizing an accountability system with rewards and penalties, approval restrictions for particular regions and using a “last one out” system in evaluating environmental pollution, emissions reduction eventually became a launch pad for green development.
“Our operating mode for emissions reduction, top-down joint action and lateral cooperation, provides great results,” said Mr. Zhou Xiansheng, Minister of the Environmental Protection Department, “By strengthening structural emissions reduction, project emissions reduction and managing emissions reduction in general, environmental protection took place on a national level and took on a distinct role in optimizing economic growth.”
During the past 5 years, under policy guidance and supervision, outdated production capacity was eliminated one facility at a time. By encouraging green development we continuously optimized economic structure. We closed over 7000 megawatts worth of small thermal power units, eliminated outdated production capacity of iron by 110 million tons, steel by 68.6 million tons, cement by 330 million tons, coke by 93 million tons, and paper by 7.2 million tons.
In addition, we formulated and revised emission standards in over 60 key industries. We have also started formulating and revising 1050 national environmental standards. The amount of space made available for high consumption, high-contaminant, outdated technology was heavily restricted. At the same time, relevant departments implemented a series of economic policies including desulfurization in thermal power plants, preferential electric pricing, energy-saving power generation dispatch, rewards instead of subsidies in sewage network construction, governmental green procurement and environmental emissions pilot projects. Through tightened controls on high-consumption and high-contaminant and resource based industries, outdated businesses were forced to leave the market.
During the Eleventh Five Year Plan, We put strategic EIA, planning EIA and project EIA into practice. The Environmental Protection Department signed provincial cooperation pacts with 8 provinces and municipalities such as Hunan, Hubei and Anhui to implement regional economic development programs approved by the State Council. We also organized and carried out strategic EIA in 5 key industries around the Bohai Rim, the West Strait, Beibu Gulf, Chengdu-Chongqing, the upper middle reaches of the Yellow River energy chemical district, over 15 provinces (municipalities, cities) and 10 key industries such as petrochemicals, energy sourcing, metallurgy and equipment manufacture.
“Since 2006, 813 project EIA documents were refused, disapproved or postponed. Over 2900 billion RMB of investment was involved,” said Zhou Shengxian, “An impassable firewall was set in front of high consumption, high-contaminant, resource-heavy industries, low-level repeat construction projects and also projects with redundant production capacity.
During the Eleventh Five Year Plan, through multiple approaches such as structural emissions reduction, project emissions reduction, managing emissions reduction, etc, and under the conditions of an increasing economic growth rate and total energy consumption exceeding expectations, our sulfur dioxide emissions reduction goal and chemical oxygen demand emissions reduction target were both exceeded.
“The Twelfth Five Year Plan period will be critical for society. In this period, pressure on curbing pollution and emissions reduction will still rise,” Mr. Zhou pointed out, “We are facing rapid industrialization and urbanization, rapid economic aggregate growth, increasing energy and resource consumption with limits on environmental capacity, on one hand increasing indexes, on the other hand decreasing potency for pollution curbing and emissions reduction. We are facing an arduous task to reduce existing emissions while at the same time trying to prevent additional emissions.
It is reported in the Twelfth Five Year Plan that we have put four major pollutants into a constraint index for emissions reductions, including chemical oxygen demand, sulfur dioxide, ammonia nitrogen and oxynitride. In 2011, the reduction aim is total emissions volume of the four major pollutants mentioned above to be 1.5% less than it was in 2010.
In the Twelfth Five Year Plan, we will put structural emissions reduction in a more prominent position; upgrade and implement major pollutant emissions standards in industries such as paper-making, textiles, tannery and chemicals, etc., strictly execute our industrial policy and close outdated capacity as required by the State Council; concentrate on project emissions reduction and managing emissions reduction, start building sewage treatment plants for each county; start constructing projects for agricultural source pollution reduction; continue desulfurization in coal powered plants and denitrating in electricity generating plants; control motor vehicle off-gas emissions; keep performing research on key technologies such as denitrifying treatment for town sewage, ammonia nitrogen in the chemical industry.
We will also revise policy mechanisms for better emissions reduction; investigate and launch preferential pricing for desulfurization in the non-electric industry and denitrating in thermal power industry; higher charging standard for sewage treatment and emissions in town; establish financial subsidies and incentive systems in emissions reduction for regions and enterprises; allow compensation and trade of discharge rights for major pollutants; issue policies to encourage remedies on agricultural source pollution; begin an experiment on automobile emissions charge in key regions and cities.
Translation: Xu Danmeng
Proofreading: Lucy Chen, Angela Merriam