Fact Check: China’s efforts to combat climate change during 2006-2010

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November 22, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) — China aims to reduce the per-unit GDP greenhouse gas emission in 2020 by 40 percent to 45 percent as compared to that of 2005. To accomplish the goals, China adopted a range of major policy measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) period, and has achieved remarkable results. Following are the major achievements China made during this period:

Closure of outdated industrial capacity

China shut down small thermal power generating units with a total generating capacity of 76.82 million kw, and eliminated backward steel production capacity to the tune of 72 million tons.

China phased out 120 million tons of iron production capacity, 370 million tons of cement production capacity, 107 million tons of coke production capacity, 11.3 million tons of paper production capacity, and 45 million cases of glass production capacity.

From 2005 to 2010, coal consumption in thermal power supply dropped 10 percent from 370 g/kwh to 333 g/kwh.

Strategic and newly emerging industries

The government has established 20 venture capital investment funds and supported the growth of innovative enterprises in energy conservation, environmental protection, new energy development and other sectors in strategic new industries.

In 2010, the output value of China’s high-tech manufacturing industries reached 7.6 trillion yuan (118.75 billion U.S. dollars), ranking the second in the world, and more than twice the figure for 2005.

Service industry

From 2005 to 2010, the added value of China’s service sector increased 11.9 percent per year on average, 0.7 percentage point higher than that of GDP, and with its proportion in GDP rising from 40.3 percent to 43 percent.

Energy-saving technology and products

By the end of 2010, the implementation rate of mandatory energy efficiency standards for new urban buildings reached 99.5 percent in the design stage and 95.4 percent in the construction stage.

During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period, the accumulated total energy-efficient floor space constructed was 4.857 billion square meters, with energy-saving capacity of 46 million tons of standard coal.

The government has taken energy conservation actions in the retail sector by restraining the production, marketing and use of plastic shopping bags, and curbing over-packaging.

The central treasury has appropriated subsidies to support the production of and promote the use of some 360 million high-efficiency illumination products, 30 million high-efficiency air conditioners and one million energy-efficient motor vehicles, which have realized an annual energy-saving capacity of 20 billion kwh.

The market share of high-efficiency illumination products reached 67 percent, and that of high-efficiency air-conditioners, 70 percent.

Circular economy

During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period, China comprehensively utilized about one billion tons of fly ash, 1.1 billion tons of coal slag, and 500 million tons of metallurgical slag.

By the end of 2010, China had formed a remanufacturing capacity of automobile engines, gearboxes, steering engines and electric generators, totaling 250,000 pieces (sets).

Through the efforts of all sectors, China accomplished its energy conservation goals listed in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped 19.1 percent from that of 2005 accumulatively, or a reduction of 1.46 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

China’s national economy expanded at an average annual rate of 11.2 percent, while its energy consumption grew only 6.6 percent annually on average.

Low-carbon Energy

Natural gas production increased from 49.3 billion cubic meters in 2005 to 94.8 billion cubic meters in 2010, an average annual increase of 14 percent.

In that period, China’s natural gas consumption accounted for 4.3 percent of its total energy consumption, and the extraction of coal-bed methane reached 30.55 billion cubic meters, with the amount utilized reaching 11.45 billion cubic meters, equivalent to a reduction of 170 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Non-fossil energy

By the end of 2010, China’s installed hydropower capacity had reached 213 million kw, doubling the figure for 2005. The installed nuclear power capacity had reached 10.82 million kw, with another 30.97 million kw under construction.

China’s installed wind power capacity grew from 1.26 million kw in 2005 to 31.07 million kw in 2010, and installed photovoltaic power capacity increased from less than 100,000 kw in 2005 to 600,000 kw.

The number of solar water heaters in use reached 168 million square meters. The installed biomass energy capacity was about 5 million kw. With an annual utilization of methane of about 14 billion cubic meters, the total number of methane users in China reached 40 million households. Utilized ethanol bio-fuel was 1.8 million tons.

The contribution made by all types of biomass energy totaled 15 million tons of standard coal.

Increasing Carbon Sink

The central finance has raised the standard for afforestation investment subsidy from 100 yuan to 200 yuan per mu, and established the China Green Carbon Fund.

Currently, China’s man-made forest reserve has reached 62 million hectares. Its national forest coverage has reached 195 million hectares, with the forest coverage rate rising from 18.21 percent in 2005 to 20.36 percent in 2010, and a forest stock volume of 13.721 billion cubic meters.

China’s total carbon storage in forest vegetation has reached 7.811 billion tons.

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About B.J. Murphy

I'm a young socialist and Transhumanist activist within the East Coast region, who writes for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), India Future Society, and Serious Wonder. I'm also the Social Media Manager for Serious Wonder, an Advisory Board Member for the Lifeboat Foundation, and a Co-Editor for Fight Back! News.

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