Full Text: Responding to Climate Change: China's Policies and Actions

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Friday released a white paper titled "Responding to Climate Change: China's Policies and Actions."

XinhuaUpdated: October 27, 2021

II. Implementing a National Strategy of Actively Responding to Climate Change

As the largest developing country, with a population of over 1.4 billion, China faces major challenges across a range of important areas including economic development, improving the people's lives, pollution control, and eco-environmental protection. In order to meet its targets in response to climate change, China has risen to these challenges and formulated and implemented a variety of strategies, regulations, policies, standards, and actions.

1. Intensifying Efforts in Response to Climate Change

It will not be easy for China to achieve its new NDC targets; it will take approximately 30 years of painstaking effort to transit from peak carbon emissions to achieving carbon neutrality and the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP (“carbon intensity”) in the world. Walking the talk, China has already begun to implement positive and effective moves in its strategy to peak carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.

Improving overall planning and coordination in response to climate change. The response to climate change covers a wide range of areas; therefore, to improve coordination and pool strengths, China has set up a national leading group headed by Premier of the State Council and with officials from 30 ministries and commissions as members. Its remit is responding to climate change, conserving energy, and reducing emissions, and all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government (PARMs) have set up corresponding groups. In April 2018, China adjusted the functions of relevant government departments, and put the newly established Ministry of Ecology and Environment in charge of responding to climate change, thus reinforcing the coordination between responding to climate change and protecting the eco-environment. In 2021, China set up a special leading group to guide and coordinate the work related to peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality. All PARMs have established leading groups for peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, so as to strengthen the coordination of their efforts.

Incorporating the response to climate change into national economic and social development plans. Starting from the 12th Five-year Plan period (2011-2015), China has incorporated reducing carbon intensity into the outline of the plans for national economic and social development as binding targets, and defined key tasks, priority areas, and major projects. China's Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 sets a binding target of slashing carbon intensity by 18 percent from 2020 to 2025. All PARMs have taken on the response to climate change as an important part of the 14th Five-year Plan, and set themselves specific targets and tasks.

Establishing a mechanism of breaking down and meeting the targets for responding to climate change. To meet its targets, China has set tiered provincial-level carbon emission caps for its PARMs based on factors such as their development stage, resource endowment, strategic positioning, and eco-environmental protection. It has assessed the performance of the relevant governments in meeting the targets and fulfilling the responsibilities for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and uses the results as an important reference for the comprehensive performance assessment and appraisal of officials holding principal posts and leadership teams in the PARMs, as well as for the appointment, reward, sanction, and removal of officials. PARM governments have also assessed the performance of administrative divisions at lower levels in meeting their targets and fulfilling their responsibilities for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, thus ensuring that the effort is coordinated and effective.

Continuing to update NDC targets. In 2015, China set its nationally determined action objectives by 2030: to peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 at the latest and make every effort to peak early. By the end of 2019, China had delivered on its 2020 climate action target ahead of schedule. In 2020, China announced new NDC targets and measures. China aims to:

• peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

lower its carbon intensity by over 65 percent by 2030 from the 2005 level.

increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 percent by 2030.

increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters by 2030 from the 2005 level.

bring its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kW by 2030.

Compared with the objectives set in 2015, the new targets are more ambitious in timeframe. They involve a steeper cut in carbon intensity, an increase of another five percentage points in the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption, a new target for installed capacity of non-fossil fuels, an additional forest stock of 1.5 billion cubic meters, and a clear announcement to aim for carbon neutrality before 2060. China has announced in 2021 a decision to stop building new coal-fired power projects overseas, demonstrating its concrete actions in response to climate change.

Accelerating work on 1+N policies for peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality. The country has formulated and released a top-level design document for peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, and is working on an action plan for peaking carbon emissions before 2030, with implementation plans for fields and sectors such as energy, industry, urban and rural construction, transport, and agriculture and rural areas. Support plans are being created in areas such as science and technology, fiscal funding, finance, pricing, carbon sinks, energy transition and coordination of pollution reduction and carbon emission reduction, with clearer timetables, roadmaps, and working plans. The country is shaping policies and actions with clear objectives, reasonable assignment of labor, effective measures, and sound coordination, ensuring that all efforts deliver positive results.

2. Staying Committed to a Green and Low-Carbon Path to Development

China has been actively responding to climate change in a responsible manner. Considering this to be a major opportunity to transform its growth model, China is actively exploring a green and low-carbon path to development, one that remains within the limits of resources, energy, and the environment, and is protective of our planet.

Making coordinated efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. It is essential for China to coordinate its efforts to pursue all-round and greener economic and social development in the new development stage. The country amended the Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution in 2015 and added specific provisions, providing a legal basis for the coordinated control of atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases and reduction of pollution and carbon emissions. To further coordinate the functions, initiatives, and mechanisms for responding to climate change and protecting the eco-environment, China has defined major areas and key tasks covering strategic planning, policies and regulations, institutions, pilots and demonstrations, and international cooperation. China has invested a major effort in seven landmark campaigns to keep the skies blue, control pollution caused by diesel trucks, protect and restore the Yangtze River ecosystem, improve the water environment of the Bohai Sea region, improve black and fetid water bodies in cities, protect water sources, and control pollution in agriculture and rural areas. With action plans and concrete targets and measures, these campaigns serve to drive the overall progress and bring notable improvements to the eco-environment.

Creating a spatial configuration for green development. Since territorial space is where we pursue eco-environmental progress, we must create time and room for natural ecosystems to rehabilitate themselves. China has created orderly and science-based strategies for agricultural, ecological, urban, and other areas. It has piloted the policy of designating permanent basic cropland areas, drawing redlines for protecting ecosystems, and delineating boundaries for urban development. It has drawn redlines for identified protected areas (PAs), areas that are ecologically vital and vulnerable but not included in PAs, and areas with important potential ecological value, thus increasing their carbon sequestration capacity.

Developing green and low-carbon industries. The basic solutions to resource, environmental, and ecological problems are to establish and improve an economic system featuring green, low-carbon, and circular development, and to pursue greener economic and social development in all respects. To shape green development models and green ways of life, China has formulated a plan for national strategic emerging industries with the aim to: 

 guide green consumption, promote green products and increase the proportion of new-energy vehicles and new energy use, with an emphasis on innovation and the application of green and low-carbon technologies.

 promote industry systems for efficient energy conservation, state-of-the-art environmental protection, and resource recycling, boosting the growth of the new-energy vehicle industry, new energy industries and energy-saving and environmental protection industries.

 develop a unified certification and labeling system for green products and foster a green market by increasing the supply of green products.

It has also pressed ahead with industrial restructuring through the following measures:

 issuing and continuously updating the catalog for guiding industry restructuring to steer non-governmental investment.

 transforming and upgrading traditional industries.

 boosting high-quality development of manufacturing.

 cultivating and developing emerging industries.

 providing greater support to green and low-carbon industries such as energy conservation, environmental protection, clean production, and clean energy.

Resolutely curbing the haphazard development of energy-intensiveand high-emission projects. China has strictly controlled the haphazard expansion of energy-intensive and high-emission projects, shutting down outdated production facilities in accordance with laws and regulations, and scaling down overcapacity at a faster pace. To achieve this, it has:

 implemented strict market access standards for 13 industries including iron & steel, ferroalloy, and coking, tightening requirements on land, environmental protection, energy conservation, technology, and safety.

 put in place the national policy on differential electricity prices, raising standards for the differential electricity prices for energy-intensive products and expanding the scope of differential electricity prices.

 released, 12 times, lists of enterprises in key industrial fields that were required to shut down outdated production facilities, and conducted annual supervision and inspection from 2018 to 2020 to ensure the elimination of outdated production facilities in accordance with laws and regulations.

 made the expansion control a top priority in the effort to peak carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. It required local governments to clearly identify all energy-intensive and high-emission projects, produce category-based management proposals, carry out special inspections, strictly punish any such projects constructed or operated in contravention of regulations, and implement list management, category-based handling, and dynamic monitoring of energy-intensive and high-emission projects. It has established working mechanisms on openly criticizing entities for wrong-doing, early warnings on energy use, regulatory talks, and accountability,gradually forming sound working and regulatory systems.

Improving and adjusting the energy mix. The energy sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. China has continuously intensified its efforts in energy conservation and emissions reduction and accelerated energy mix readjustment to build a clean, low-carbon, safe, and efficient energy system. To achieve this, it has:

 defined a new strategy for energy security that promotes a green revolution in energy consumption, supply, technology, and systems, strengthens international cooperation in an all-round way, prioritizes the development of non-fossil fuels, promotes the green development of hydropower, makes comprehensive and coordinated progress in wind and solar power development, pursues the orderly development of nuclear power under the precondition of guaranteed safety, develops biomass energy, geothermal energy, and marine energy based on local conditions, comprehensively increasing the rate of renewable energy use.

 driven the supply-side structural reform of coal by cutting overcapacity in coal, strengthening safe, intelligent, green, and efficient exploitation and clean and efficient use of coal, promoting clean, efficient, and high-quality development of coal-fired power industries, reducing the consumption of coal and replacing it with other fuels, taking comprehensive measures to manage the use of coal in non-industrial sectors, and promoting the substitution of coal and petroleum by electricity as end-use energy.

 expanded reform of the energy system, promoting efficient allocation of energy and resources.

Reinforcing efforts in energy conservation and greater energy efficiency. To further guarantee the fulfillment of responsibilities in meeting energy conservation and energy efficiency enhancement targets, China has:

 implemented a system for controlling energy intensity and energy consumption, and set targets for both at the provincial level with supervision and performance evaluation.

 incorporated energy conservation indexes into the index system for evaluating the performance in environmental progress and green development to facilitate the transformation in development philosophy.

 strengthened energy conservation management of major energy-using entities, organized the implementation of key energy conservation projects, and popularized advanced energy conservation technologies by releasing 260 key energy conservation technologies in 13 industries, including coal, electricity, iron & steel, nonferrous metals, petrochemicals, chemicals, and building materials.

 established a "Frontrunner" system for energy efficiency, and improved the energy efficiency labeling system by issuing 15 batches of catalogs for products with energy efficiency labels and related implementation rules.

 implemented Energy Performance Contracting and strengthened regulations and standards on energy conservation. It has issued and implemented over 340 national standards on energy conservation and promoted the certification of energy-saving products accordingly. To date, almost 50,000 energy-saving product certificates have been issued, thus boosting the energy conservation industry.

 required public institutions to play an exemplary role in energy conservation and energy efficiency enhancement. Approximately 35 percent of Party and government offices at and above county level, and all central CPC and government departments have shifted onto an energy-saving trajectory. In all, 5,114 public institutions have become demonstrative units for energy conservation.

 strengthened energy conservation in the industrial sector by carrying out special national inspections on energy conservation alongside campaigns on energy-saving diagnosis, on increasing the energy efficiency of general equipment, and on promoting energy conservation and establishing standards for green development.

 strengthened demand-side management by setting up demonstrative enterprises/industrial parks and selecting reference products/technologies in the demand-side management of electricity in industrial fields, which would have achieved the visualized, automated, and intelligent management of electricity consumption.

Pushing for the economical and intensive use of natural resources. To further ecological progress, China has designated conserving resources and protecting the environment as a fundamental national policy. To achieve the economical and intensive use of natural resources, it has:

 pursued fundamental changes in the way of using resources and pressured all PARMs to put their existing resources to good use by improving the mechanism for coordinating the consumption of existing resources and the arrangements for additional resources, and by reforming the way of managing land use plans.

 imposed strict controls on land use through standards, having organized the formulation and revision of land use standards for highways, industries, photovoltaic (PV) projects, and airports and strictly reviewed the land use of construction projects in accordance with the standards.

 carried out assessment and evaluation on economical and intensive land use and worked hard to popularize land-saving technologies and models.

 driven the green development of the mining industry and intensifiedefforts to develop eco-friendly mines by establishing and implementing index management systems for the minimum exploitation and use of mineral resources and for the evaluation of “Frontrunners”. It has released 360 advanced and applicable technologies for the conservation and comprehensive use of mineral resources.

 strengthened regulation and control over the use of marine resources and prohibited all coastal reclamation activities except those for major national projects.

 promoted the protection and restoration of ecosystems in areas with problems carried over from reclamation activities of the past and strictly protected natural shorelines.

Actively exploring new, low-carbon models of development. China has actively explored low-carbon models of development. It has encouraged local governments, industries, and enterprises to explore low-carbon paths to development based on their individual conditions, and launched pilots and demonstrations on green and low-carbon development in fields such as energy, industry, construction, and transport, thus shaping a basic comprehensive and multi-tiered system for low-carbon piloting. It has launched low-carbon pilots in 10 provincial-level units and 77 cities, and explored low-carbon models of development and institutional innovations in respects including organizational leadership, support policies, market mechanisms, statistical systems, evaluation and assessment, coordination and demonstration, and cooperation and exchanges. The carbon intensity of these pilot areas has fallen faster than the national average, and a number of low-carbon models of development with distinctive features have emerged.

3. Tightening Control over Greenhouse Gas Emissions

China has incorporated climate action into every aspect of its overall strategy for economic and social development. It has taken active steps to control greenhouse gas emissions in key industries, and promote green and low-carbon development in urban and rural construction and the building sector. It has worked to develop a green and low-carbon transport system and reduce non-carbon dioxide emissions. It has taken a coordinated approach to the governance of mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes, grasslands and deserts, and strictly implemented relevant measures to enhance its biological carbon sink capacity.

Controlling greenhouse gas emissions in key industries. China has:

• strengthened the management of targets for energy consumption and carbon emissions in key industries, including the iron & steel, building material, chemical, and non-ferrous metal sectors.

• carried out low-carbon demonstration projects and benchmarking campaigns to reduce carbon emissions in those industries.

• advanced green manufacturing and the transformation of industries towards green development.

• tightened control over greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes through substituting raw materials, improving production techniques, and updating equipment utilization.

• increased the recycling and utilization of renewable resources for higher resource utilization efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions in the whole life cycle of resources.

Promoting green and low-carbon development in urban and rural construction. China is building energy-saving and low-carbon cities and infrastructure and boosting rural revitalization through green development. It has:

• encouraged the construction of eco-friendly buildings and improved relevant assessment standard systems.

• carried out demonstration programs for cities with ultra-low and nearly zero energy consumption.

• promoted energy-saving renovation of existing buildings and improved the energy efficiency of public buildings.

• facilitated the application of renewable energy in the building sector.

• taken measures to build green and low-carbon villages and towns, encouraging farmers to build energy-saving houses through energy efficiency demonstration projects during the process of renovating dilapidated rural housing, and accelerating the use of clean energy for winter heating in northern China.

Developing a green and low-carbon transportation system. China has taken the following measures:

• adjusted the mix of transport by increasing the proportion of rail and water transport for bulk goods and decreasing that of highway transport.

• launched a project to build "model cities of green freight distribution", as part of the efforts to accelerate the establishment of an intensive, efficient, green, and smart urban freight distribution system.

• expanded the electrification of railways and promoted the use of natural gas vehicles and vessels, with improved electric charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure to facilitate the use of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and encourage anchored ships and parked civil aircraft to use shore power.

• improved institutions and standards for green transportation by launching relevant standards, action plans and solutions. It has published 221 standards on energy-saving and carbon reduction.

• encouraged green travel, with more than 100 cities joining the campaign to advocate green travel, and annual nation-wide publicity month for green travel and publicity week for public transit.

• accelerated the substitution and optimization of transport fuels and upgraded the standards on transport emissions and oil products.

• improved transport efficiency through the application of information technology.

Reducing non-carbon dioxide emissions. China attaches importance to the reduction of non-carbon dioxide emissions, and has introduced specific policies and measures in the National Plan on Climate Change (2014-2020) and the Work Plan for Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The Chinese government has:

• offered subsidies for the handling of HFC-23 since 2014. As of 2019, subsidies worth RMB1.4 billion yuan had been paid, reducing 65,300 tonnes of HFC-23, equivalent to 966 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

• stepped up the development of environmentally friendly refrigerants and actively promoted the reuse and harmless treatment of refrigerants, in strict accordance with the Regulations on the Management of Ozone-Depleting Substances and the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.

• supported enterprises to employ air-conditioner production lines using low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants, and limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

• set up an alliance of Chinese oil and gas enterprises to advance methane emission control across the industry chain.

• accepted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, representing a new stage in protecting the ozone layer and addressing climate change in the country.

Enhancing biological carbon sink capacity. China has done the following:

• taken a coordinated approach to conserving the mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes, grasslands and deserts, and carried out large-scale land afforestation. Efforts have continued on key projects, including protecting shelterbelts and natural forests, especially those in northwest, northeast and northern China and along the Yangtze River, conserving chernozem soils in northeast China, building high-quality farmland, protecting and restoring wetlands, returning cropland back to forests and grasslands, restoring grasslands, controlling the sources of dust storms affecting Beijing and Tianjin, and comprehensively addressing desertification and stony desertification.

• achieved steady progress in urban and rural greening and improved the carbon sink capacity of forests, grasslands, wetlands and other ecosystems by tending and managing forests in a science-based approach, taking targeted measures to improve the quality of forests, developing biomass energy, strengthening the protection of forest and grassland resources, and increasing their total volume.

• developed a PA system composed mainly of national parks and established its first five national parks as part of the efforts to integrate and optimize nature reserves.

• introduced an ecological protection and restoration system, formulated relevant plans, and carried out the Blue Bay environmental improvement initiative, the coastal belts protection and restoration project, the comprehensive management of the Bohai Sea region's water environment, and a special action for mangrove conservation and restoration.

• carried out ecological restoration of abandoned mines in key areas, such as both sides of the main stream and major tributaries of the Yangtze River, key cities around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and in the Fenwei Plains, and key regions in the Yellow River basin.

• implemented major projects for ecological conservation and restoration in seven key areas, including the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Yellow River, and the Yangtze River.

• supported 25 trials to conserve and restore the ecosystems of mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes, and grasslands.

• issued a series of documents to encourage private capital to participate in ecological conservation and restoration, in an effort to establish a market-based and diversified investment mechanism.

China's proposal – Drawing a "Red Line" for Ecological Protection to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change – has been selected by the UN as one of the 15 best Nature-based Solutions around the globe.

4. Giving Full Play to the Role of the Market

The carbon market provides an effective approach to managing the relationship between economic development and carbon emissions reduction. The national carbon emissions trading market (national carbon market) is a major institutional innovation that uses market mechanisms to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote green and low-carbon development. It is also an important policy tool for China to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Carrying out pilot programs on carbon emissions trading. The carbon market institutions motivate companies to commit to curbing their emissions and use market-based instruments to price carbon reasonably, thus better allocating carbon emission resources. Starting from October 2011, seven provinces and municipalities – Beijing, Chongqing, Guangdong, Hubei, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Tianjin – were selected to pilot projects for carbon emissions trading. Since 2013, seven local-level pilot carbon markets have been launched, covering nearly 3,000 key emissions companies in more than 20 industries, including power, steel, and cement. As of September 30, 2021, the total trading volume of the seven pilot carbon markets had reached 495 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, representing a value of approximately RMB12 billion. Major emitters in the pilot carbon markets have maintained a relatively high level of compliance rate, with both volume and intensity of carbon emissions within the market coverage maintaining a downward trend. This has given a significant boost to enterprises' contribution to emissions reduction, and raised the awareness of low-carbon development in all sectors of society. The local-level pilot projects have accumulated valuable experience for the launch of the national carbon market in terms of providing institutional references and training personnel.

Building a national carbon market system. Systems are key in advancing carbon market development. To better regulate the carbon market, the Chinese government promulgated the National Carbon Emissions Trading Market Construction Plan (Power Generation Industry), Measures for the Administration of Carbon Emissions Trading (for Trial Implementation), and a quota allocation plan for the national carbon market in the first compliance period. In 2021, with the release of guidelines for accounting and reporting corporate greenhouse gas emissions and three sets of management rules for carbon emission rights regarding registration, trading, and settlement, a basic national carbon market system was established. The legislative process has moved forward on the Interim Rules on the Administration of Carbon Emissions Trading, which consolidated the legal basis for carbon emissions trading, and ensured standardized operation and management in the key links of the national carbon market.

Launching the national carbon market. On July 16, 2021, the national carbon market started online trading. A total of 2,162 power generation companies were involved, representing 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, making this the world's largest emissions trading system. The launch attracted great attention and positive comments in China and elsewhere. As of September 30, 2021, the total trading volume in the market had reached 17.65 million tonnes, with turnover of RMB801 million. In general, the operation of the market has been stable and orderly.

Establishing a greenhouse gas voluntary emission reduction program. The China Greenhouse Gas Voluntary Emission Reduction Program was established in 2012. Its goals are to encourage the whole of society to participate in emissions reduction activities, ensure that the transaction entities fulfill their social responsibilities, pursue a low-carbon development path, and promote a low-carbon industrial structure and low-carbon energy consumption. As of September 30, 2021, the total trading volume of greenhouse gas voluntary emission reduction had exceeded 334 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, with turnover approaching RMB3 billion. China Certified Emission Reduction (CCER) has been introduced to pilot markets in offsetting carbon emissions, or writing off emissions occurred for public welfare purposes, effectively optimizing China's national energy mix and its compensation mechanism for eco-environmental conservation.

5. Reinforcing Ability to Adapt to Climate Change

Due to ecological and environmental constraints, limitations imposed by the industrial structure, and the level of social and economic development, developing countries are generally weaker in terms of their ability to adapt to climate change, and are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change than developed countries. China is a climate sensitive region, and has witnessed a profound impact. Regarding adaptation as a major component in executing the national strategy for actively responding to climate change, the Chinese government has promoted and implemented major adaptation strategies, launching adaptation actions in key areas and sectors, and strengthening monitoring, early warning, and disaster prevention and mitigation capabilities.

Pressing ahead with major national strategies to improve climate resilience. In order to carry out the climate adaptation related work in a coordinated way, China formulated the National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation in 2013, identifying guidelines, principles, and main targets of this undertaking from 2014 to 2020, and supervised the formulation and implementation of seven major tasks involving infrastructure, agriculture, water resources, coastal zone and related sea areas, forests and other ecosystems, human health, tourism and other industries. In 2020, China started the preparation of the National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation 2035, which focused on overall guidance, communication, coordination, strengthening observation and assessment of climate change impacts, and improving the ability of major sectors and key vulnerable regions to adapt to climate change.

Launching climate change adaptation actions in key regions. In urban areas, action plan for cities to adapt to climate change has been formulated, and pilot projects for “sponge cities” and climate-adaptive cities have been carried out to improve the resilience of urban infrastructure. The urban cluster configuration and urban afforestation efforts such as corridors, greenways, and parks have effectively alleviated the urban heat island (UHI) effect and other climate risks, and improved the national transport network's ability to adapt to extreme weather conditions such as unusually high or low levels of rain or snow, temperature fluctuations, typhoons, and other phenomena. In coastal areas, nationwide sea level change monitoring and surveys and assessments have been carried out annually, and land reclamation from the sea has been strictly regulated. The government has strengthened protection of coastal wetland, and improved the ability of key coastal areas to deal with climate change risks. In other key eco-environmental areas including ecologically fragile areas of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, transition areas between cropland and grassland in the northwest, stony deserts in the southwest, and the Yangtze River and the Yellow River basins, China has carried out climate adaption and ecological restoration efforts to improve the overall ability to adapt to climate change.

Promoting climate change adaptation actions in key sectors. In the agricultural sector, China has promoted sustainable agricultural development by transforming agricultural growth models. Capacity for agricultural emissions reduction and carbon sequestration has been strengthened thanks to the implementation of five major agricultural green development actions in Northeast China, including straw processing. The government has made every effort to develop and promote new technologies for the prevention and adaptation of agrometeorological disasters, such as those related to preventing and mitigating disaster, increasing production, and utilizing climate resources. It has completed more than 5,000 exercises in agrometeorological disaster risk zoning. In forestry and grassland, afforestation and greening efforts have been carried out scientifically in line with local conditions and suitable tree types. The optimized afforestation models guarantee forest health, thus comprehensively increasing the ability of forestry to adapt to climate change. The government has strengthened the protection and management of various types of forest lands, built a nature reserve system with a focus on national parks, implemented major grassland protection and restoration projects, and restored and reinforced grassland ecological functions. In the water resources sector, China has improved the flood prevention and disaster reduction system, strengthened the construction of water conservancy infrastructure, and optimized the allocation of water resources to prevent floods and droughts. In order to control the total amount and intensity of water consumption and ensure its intensive and economical use, nationwide water-saving campaigns have been launched and a rigid restraint system has been established. In the public health sector, the government has organized and carried out climate change related health risk assessment, and worked to improve the country's ability to protect public health in the context of climate change. China has launched Healthy Environment Promotion Action, carried out prevention and control of climate-sensitive diseases, and reinforced safeguards in response to the climate change health emergency.

Strengthening monitoring, early warning and disaster prevention and mitigation capabilities. Systems for natural disaster risk monitoring, investigation and assessment, early warning and forecasting, and comprehensive risk prevention have been optimized. China has established a nationwide long-term sequences disaster database for various meteorological disasters, and completed a national-level refined meteorological disaster risk early warning service platform. With the establishment of a comprehensive system that integrates air, space and land, China now publishes regular reports on national natural disaster risks. The government has promulgated national disaster prevention and mitigation plans to guide disaster prevention, mitigation and relief work in the context of climate change, carried out nine key projects for strengthening natural disaster prevention and control, monitoring, early warning, consultation and evaluation of severe convective weather, melting glaciers, and dammed lakes. Territorial space planning plays a key role in preventing and controlling natural disasters, and ensures that local-level meteorological disaster prevention and mitigation standards apply to all counties (districts) across the country.

6. Increasing Support for Addressing Climate Change

China attaches great importance to developing support capacity to address climate change. It has continuously improved the statistical and accounting system for greenhouse gas emissions, given a key role to green finance, and leveraged the supporting role of scientific and technological innovation to promote the transfer and application of climate change technologies.

Improving the statistical and accounting systems of greenhouse gas emissions. China has established and improved a basic statistical system for measuring greenhouse gas emissions. It has proposed a statistical indicator system on climate change response involving 36 indicators grouped into 5 categories, including climate change and impact. It has launched a statistical report on climate change response on this basis, and continued to update and revise the report. It has compiled a greenhouse gas inventory, and submitted two national reports and two two-year update reports based on the Initial National Report on Climate Change of the People's Republic of China. The government has urged enterprises to improve their accounting and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, issued appropriate guidelines for 24 industries, and organized companies to prepare greenhouse gas emission reports. The Office of the Leading Group on Carbon Peaking and Carbon Neutrality has formed a taskforce to speed up efforts to upgrade the carbon emission statistical and accounting system.

Increasing green finance support. China continues to increase investment to support efforts to tackle climate change. It has improved the top-level design of green finance, and set up nine pilot zones for reform and innovation of green finance in six provincial-level administrative units, namely, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Xinjiang, and Zhejiang. It has strengthened financial support for green and low-carbon transformation, and encouraged pilot zones to introduce successful practices to more regions. It has introduced comprehensive support policies for climate investment and financing, and pressed for building a standard system accordingly. It has also strengthened market funding guidance and promoted pilot work in climate investment and financing. It has encouraged the development of green credit mechanisms, improved supporting policies for green bonds, and published a catalog of related supporting projects, effectively guiding private capital in addressing climate change. As of the end of 2020, China's balance of green loans amounted to RMB11.95 trillion, of which the clean energy loan balance was RMB3.2 trillion. China has issued a total of about RMB1.2 trillion of green bonds, with roughly RMB800 billion outstanding, making it the world's second-biggest green bond market.

Strengthening the role of scientific and technological innovation. Scientific and technological innovation plays a fundamental role in identifying, analyzing, and responding to issues related to climate change, and is set to play a crucial role in promoting the green and low-carbon transition. China has issued a series of climate change-related special plans for technological innovation, technology promotion lists, and green industry catalogs. The government has committed to basic scientific research on climate change, emphasized the consulting function of think tanks, and promoted the research, development, and application of low-carbon technologies. More than 10 major climate change-related research and development projects have been carried out, and the application of 143 technologies in the field of greenhouse gas reduction and utilization has been promoted under the national key research and development plan. The government has encouraged enterprises to take the lead in green technology research and development, supported the transfer and application of green technology achievements, established a comprehensive national-level green technology trading market, and guided enterprises to adopt advanced and applicable energy-saving and low-carbon new technologies. China has established a carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) entrepreneurial technology innovation strategic alliance, along with a special committee and other institutions, to promote technical progress and the application of scientific and technological achievements in the field.

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