China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) has ordered local governments to establish clear goals and implementation plans for hitting carbon emission peak by 2030, especially for key industries including steelmaking, construction, chemicals, coal, power generation, and more, according to its newly published a guideline on climate change and environmental protection, as reported by National Business Daily on January 13. Moreover, as clarified in the guideline, the department has decided to include greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction as one of the key indicators to evaluate the local government officials’ performances. MEE also suggested local governments make full use of advanced technologies such as satellite remote sensing to track land use changes, in order to better monitor and control GHG emissions.
The decision follows Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to peak carbon emissions in the country by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. As stated by Xu Bijiu, an MEE senior official, in an earlier press conference, the country should take decarbonization as its most important task in the 14th Five-Year Plan for environmental protection. To meet its climate goals, MEE published a new plan in early January to introduce trial rules for the national carbon emission trading scheme (ETS), which will take effect from February 1. The market will initially cover 2,225 key enterprises from the power sector, which accounted for around one-third of China’s total carbon emissions in 2019.
According to the guideline, MEE is also considering promoting industrialization of its carbon capture, utilization, and storage systems, which have yet to achieve commercial viability in the country. At the end of 2019, China was operating nine carbon capture projects and 12 utilization and storage projects, with heavy reliance on government subsidies. In addition, the country is using ecological conservation method to cut carbon output, with priorities given to the protection of nature reserves, ecological redlines, and ecological functional zones across the country.
So far, a list of Chinese enterprises have announced plans to support the country’s green development. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) [0883:HK] started power generation at its first offshore wind power station in Jiangsu last September, which led to a reduction of 571,000 tons in carbon emissions for the company each year. In early January, Sinopec [SNP:US] held a meeting with GCL New Energy [0451:HK], Trina Solar [TSL:US], LONGi Green Energy Technology [601012:CH], and Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor [002129:CH], to discuss potential collaborations on renewable energy projects. On January 12, Tencent’s [0700:HK] CEO, Pony Ma, also announced that the company has begun designing its own carbon neutrality strategy and plan.