The State Council printed and distributed the Comprehensive Working Programme on Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (2011-2015) (No.26 document issued by the State Council, hereinafter referred to as the Programme), which comes up with 50 policy measures and sets out the goals for the control of the total amount of chemical oxygen demand, ammonia nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides of local areas during the 12th Five-Year Plan period.
1. The background of the programme
The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have always attached great importance to the ecological conservation and environmental protection efforts. The Outline of the 11th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development identified for the first time energy conservation and emissions reduction as one of the obligatory targets five years ago. Local areas and departments seriously implemented the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and made remarkable achievements in taking the reduction of total pollutant load as the platform and breakthrough point for adjusting the economic structure, shifting the economic development mode, and advancing the science-based development. The total amount of sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand decreased by 14.29% and 12.45% respectively, meeting the obligatory targets identified by the Outline of the 11th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development, reversing the rising trend of major pollutants at the end of the 10th Five-Year Plan period, and providing strong supports for maintaining the fast and yet steady economic development.
In the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the energy demand in our country will be rigid demand, along with the accelerated industrialization and urbanization processes and the constant upgrading of the consumption structure. Moreover, the resources and environment constitute an increasingly strong constraint due to the limited resource sustaining capacity and environmental capacity, as well as the impact of the global energy security and the response to climate change. So, the pollution reduction efforts face a very grave situation. In particular, the pollution reduction efforts in our country have some problems, such as poor fulfillment of responsibilities, difficulty in advancing the reduction efforts, incomplete incentive and constraint mechanism, weak groundwork, lagged-behind capacity building, and poor regulation. The State Council printed and distributed the Comprehensive Working Programme on Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period recently. The Programme is a programmatic document for advancing the pollution reduction efforts during the 12th Five-Year Plan period, and identifies the general requirements, primary goals, major tasks and policy measures for the pollution reduction efforts in the 12th Five-Year Plan period. It has 12 sections containing 50 articles.
2. What is the successful experience in pollution reduction during the 11th Five-Year Plan period?
There are five pieces of experience. 1) The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to the pollution reduction efforts. The State introduced the Circular of the State Council on Printing and Distributing the Comprehensive Working Programme on Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction (No.15 document issued by the State Council) and the Circular of the State Council on Forwarding the Implementation Plan and Measures on the Statistics, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction Efforts (No.36 document issued by the State Council). The CPC MEP Committee considered the pollution reduction efforts as a central task, and thanks to the concerted efforts, the sulfur dioxide emitted decreased by 14.29％ from the 2005 level, and the chemical oxygen demand decreased by 12.45％ from the 2005 level. The decrease of the two major pollutants was echoed by the improved environmental quality. Pollution reduction also became a focus in the environmental protection efforts during the 11th Five-Year Plan period. 2) The rules and regulations on pollution reduction were developed and improved. The Measures on the Verification of the Reduced Total Amount of Major Pollutants during the 11th Five-Year Plan Period, Detailed Rules on the Computation of the Reduced Total Amount of Major Pollutants, and Measures on the Computation of the Supervision Coefficient of Reduced Total Amount of Major Pollutants were announced, setting standards for the verification and computation of pollution reduction efforts. 3) Supporting policies especially environmental economic policies were basically in place. Higher emission standards were enforced in key industries such as paper-making, leather, and chemical industries, the policy concerning the price of electricity generated by power generation units with desulphurization facilities were introduced and strictly enforced, the charging standard for sulfur dioxide doubled, the municipal wastewater treatment fees reached 0.8 yuan/ton, and the money for the development of municipal wastewater treatment pipes in the key river basins and central and western regions was made up, and there were funds for the "rewards for subsidies" policy and the policy of offering financial rewards as the incentive to promote pollution treatment in the rural areas. 4) Introducing tough measures for punishment and rewards. In the 11th Five-Year Plan period, 111 organizations that have problems with pollution reduction were publicly criticized or put on black list, six prefecture cities and four corporations were banned of new projects due to excessive pollution. The State Council publicly commended eight provincial people's governments, as well as 250 advanced collectives and 250 advanced individuals. 5) The environmental regulation capacity was substantially enhanced. The percentage of environmental inputs accounted for about 1% of the GDP at the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan period, up from 0.5% from the end of the 10th Five-Year Plan period. The environmental monitoring and supervision hardware was greatly improved.
3. How to set out the goals for the control of total amount of major pollutants for local areas during the 12th Five-Year Plan period?
There were many creative proposals from all stakeholders for setting out the goals of local areas. Some proposed a formula, to decide the reduction goal in accordance with the weight of many factors on the basis of the reduction potentials. Some proposed to emulate the allocation of energy conservation goals, by separating the whole country into several regions and decide a reduction percentage for each of them. Some proposed to refer to the reduction percentages set out in the 11th Five-Year Plan and get the State be responsible for the reduction goals of projects approved at the national level. The methodology for allocating the reduction goals also constitutes a problem when local provinces allocate the reduction goals to the cities and counties. The core for deciding the reduction goals for local areas is to estimate the reduction potential of each pollutant, keep the result in mind, identify the tasks and fulfill the responsibilities rightly. To this end, MEP organized over 20 experts to have a science-based estimation on the reduction potential of each province, after over two months' closed discussion and in the principle of "success depends on details". Without considering the balance among local regions, the estimation of the reduction potential sought to find out the maximum potential from the technical perspective, list the problems during the estimation, and determine the methods and parameters needed to solve these problems. During the translation of reduction potential into the reduction indicator, the requests of local regions were considered, local regions were consulted as much as possible, and the environmental quality conditions of local regions, their progress in the reduction efforts during the 11th Five-Year Plan period, their economic development levels, reduction capacity, as well as the thematic plans for pollution control were taken into considerations. There is difference in the pollution reduction requirements for the eastern, central and western region of the country, and the coefficient in descending order for converting the reduction potential into the reduction percentage is that of the eastern, central, and western region. In principle, the reduction level set for the eastern region is above the national average, that of the central region is about the same with the national average, and that of the western region is lower than the national average.
The basic principle for estimating the reduction potentials and allocating the reduction goals for local areas is, taking overall considerations on the basis proposals of local regions, with the national macro plan as the yardstick, and the estimation of the reduction potential as the reference. The allocation steps are as follows: 1) Reviewing the goals proposed by local provinces in accordance with the same standards, then deciding the reduction capacity of each province for each of the four pollutants in ideal conditions, and then allocating the preliminary reduction goals to local provinces in accordance with the general reduction goal of the whole nation and the reduction potentials of them. In principle, the goal of each province shall not exceed its verified reduction potential. 2) Considering the reduction goals in the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the reduction goal of each province in the 12th Five-Year Plan period shall be balanced with that of the 11th Five-Year Plan period, without big fluctuations, making adjustment to the goals of the some provinces which got unbalanced reduction goals in the 11th Five-Year Plan period. 3) Considering the difference in the eastern, central and western regions and the pollution treatment requirements in the key regions and river basins, making adjustments to the reduction percentages in different regions and provinces, and focusing on the pollution control in the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei-Shandong region, national key river basins and regions, and the key regions tasked with joint pollution control. 4) In light of the environmental quality conditions in river basins and regions, setting higher reduction goals for river basins and regions with poor environmental quality, and enabling them to undertake more reduction tasks. For example, higher reduction goals were set for the regions suffering from heavy acid rain in the southwestern China than other regions in the western China. 5) Setting relatively lower reduction goals for autonomous regions, while taking into considerations the environmental capacity, economic development level, and the need for development of the country.
Besides, the State reserves some emission quotas for each of the four pollutants for the paid use of emission rights and pilot emission trading programs. Pilot programs were conducted in some of the provinces and cities during the 11th Five-Year Plan period, and Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Tianjin, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Chongqing, Shaanxi, and Hebei were chose as the pilot provinces for the national emission trading programs. Moreover, a dozen of provinces (autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government) including Guangdong, Shandong, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang also conducted local pilot programs. Progress had been made in setting up the scheme of paid use of emission rights. Local regions introduced a series of local legislations, policies and documents on the emission reduction efforts, some of the local regions began to collect fees for paid use of emission rights, concluded many emission rights transactions, activated the total pollutant load ceilings, and saved the reduction cost. In accordance with the guidelines of the working report of the Central Government on developing guidelines for the pilot programs on the paid use and trading of emission rights, MEP worked with Ministry of Finance to develop the Guidelines on Advancing the Pilot Programs on the Paid Use and Trading of Emission Rights, based on the pilot experience in the above said pilot projects. The guidelines will be circulated to the lower levels after further revisions. In the 12th Five-Year Plan period, this scheme will continue to be advanced as one of the important economic policy aimed at emissions reduction. A scheme of paid use of emission rights and emission trading that is suited to our national conditions and subject to graded management will be promoted throughout the country.
4. What are the new features of the Programme for the 12th Five-Year Plan period compared with that of the 11th Five-Year Plan period?
Since the theme and main thread for the national economic and social development for the 12th Five-Year Plan period were already identified, the Comprehensive Working Programme for the Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period also focused on the theme and main thread, taking energy conservation and emissions reduction as the important tool to practice the philosophy of science-based development and accelerate the change of economic development mode, and the yardstick for checking if the economic development is sound and yet fast. Compared with the programme for the 11th Five-Year Plan period, in the programme for the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the obligatory indicators increased from two (chemical oxygen demand and sulfur dioxide) to four (the new indicators are ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxides), so the contents, requirements, and tasks for emissions reduction changed, and the sectors tasked with emissions reduction changed from two sectors (the industrial sector and domestic sector) to four sectors including the industrial, domestic, transport, and rural sectors. Although the programme proposes to reduce the chemical oxygen demand and sulfur dioxides by 8%, however, as the economic size and energy consumption size will have been larger, the absolute reduction amount will have been up by 10% than the percentage set for the 11th Five-Year Plan period. To fulfill the reduction goals of the four major pollutants, each of the pollutants needs to be cut down by around 30% from the 2010 level, so these are very tough tasks. To achieve the goals, many breakthroughs will have been made in controlling the pollution increment in the 12th Five-Year Plan period, compared with that of the 11th Five-Year Plan period, so as to reverse the situation in the 11th Five-Year Plan period to control new increment of pollution passively. In terms of reducing the total pollutant from existing pollution sources, the reduction measures are more specific, that is, to solve the problem that the 11th Five-Year Plan programme identified only the reduction tasks without the specific reduction measures. As for the economic supporting policies, the programme extended the depth and scope of pricing, fiscal, taxation, and financial policies that are used to ensure the reduction goals are met and the measures are implemented. As for the environmental supporting policies, there are many breakthroughs, for example, proposing to amend several environmental legislations, developing emission standards, banning new projects in regions with excessive pollution, and advancing emission trading. As for the environmental basic capacity, capacity building will be needed in terms of standardizing the environmental regulation agencies, monitoring pollution sources, monitoring vehicle emissions, testing agricultural source pollution, and management on emissions reduction.
5. There are many major breakthroughs for controlling the pollution increment during the 12th Five-Year Plan, what are your opinions about that?
The economic parameters were far beyond expectations in the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the production capacity of energy-and resource-intensive products were substantially expanded, and the output of such products soared up, bringing along unexpected amount of new pollutants. Taking the 11th Five-Year energy plan for example, it is planned that the energy consumption would go up to 2.446 billion tons of coal equivalents in 2010 from the 2005 level at 2.147 billion tons of coal equivalent, with the annual growth rate at 3.5%. But the total energy consumption in the year 2010 reached 3.25 billion tons of coal equivalents, with annual growth rate at 8.2%. The coal consumption increased from 2.34 billion tons to 3.39 billion tons, up by over one billion tons. However, thanks to the great potentials of emissions reduction through projects during this period, the reduction tasks were fulfilled, but this also undermines the reduction scope and potentials for the 12th Five-Year Plan period. If the production capacities of energy-and resource-intensive industries and highly polluting industries could not be controlled effectively, there will be more difficulty in meeting the reduction goals. So, the 12th Five-Year programme makes many breakthroughs on controlling the pollution increment, and proposes the following more detailed measures.
1) Rationally controlling the total energy consumption, establishing a mechanism for allocating and fulfilling the control goals, allocating the total energy consumption control goals to local governments, introducing target-responsibility management, and working harder on the evaluation and assessment. In the context that the types of energy sources are determined in the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the total energy consumption control is in nature the control of total coal consumption. Relevant departments are paying close attention to this. As long as the control goals are assigned to local governments and with appropriate evaluation of their performances, the phenomenon of unrestricted energy supply and energy consumption in the 11th Five-Year Plan period will certainly be changed.
2) Conducting pilot projects on the control of total coal consumption in the key regions tasked with air pollution control. The key regions tasked with air pollution control refer to the three regions and six city clusters, that is, the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Liaozhong Peninsula city cluster, Shandong Peninsula city cluster, Wuhan and its surrounding region, Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan city cluster, Chengdu-Chongqing city cluster, and city cluster on the western coast of Taiwan Strait. These regions happen to be the regions with grave compound air pollution. To control the total coal consumption in these regions does not mean zero growth rates in the total coal consumption but the tough control on the growth rate, so that the regions take a leading role in reversing the situation that the coal consumption lead to aggravated pollution of all sorts and that the regional air quality cannot be improved. From the perspective of air pollution, these efforts are intended to rehabilitate these regions.
3) Controlling the total load of major pollutants from four industrial sectors including the power generation, iron and steel making, paper-making, and printing and dyeing sectors. The sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emitted from the power generation and iron and steel making sectors accounted for over 60% of the total from the industrial sources, and the chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen discharged by the paper-making and printing and dyeing sectors accounted for around 40% of the total from the industrial sources. To control of the total pollutant load in the four sectors means to change the irrational phenomenon of balancing the power supply in local region and using the resources for local region. The control of the total pollutant load of the four sectors means the control of the total pollutant load from the industrial sectors. The practice of making a separate plan for controlling the total pollutant load from the power generation sector proved to be effective during the 11th Five-Year Plan period. In the 12th Five-Year Plan period, there will be separate plans for controlling the total pollutant load from the power generation, iron and steel making, paper-making, and printing and dyeing sectors, and the following principle will be adhered to-cross-region allocation of emission quota for new projects, renovation projects, and expansion projects, and locating such projects from regions with emission already exceeding the environmental capacity to regions still have environmental capacity available.
4) Taking the emission quota as the precondition for environmental reviews. The EIA scheme for construction projects is an effective scheme for controlling the increment of pollution. If each of the construction projects could enable the equal replacement of pollutants, then the pollution increment would be zero and the pollution reduction tasks will be easy. It is the real situation, however. There are still phenomena that some projects are started construction before the environmental reviews, some projects are already under construction when getting environmental reviews, and some projects fail to implement the measures suggested by the environmental reviews. To change this, the emission quota will be considered as the precondition for environmental reviews, so that the construction projects need to implement environmental protection measures before passing the environmental reviews, the emission amount needs to be determined before the project is on, in order to control the pollution increment as much as possible.
5) Advancing the management of eco-labels for vehicles and exploring to regulate the amount of in-service vehicles in urban areas. Currently, one third of the nitrogen oxides throughout the country come from the transport sector, and in some cities the percentage is as high as above 60%. Nitrogen oxides become the primary pollutants in urban areas. Even if an individual vehicle possesses advanced nitrogen oxide emission equipment, based on the large amount of in-service vehicles, the emission of nitrogen oxides will not be cut down in some cities fail to control the amount of in-service cars. So, some cities will be allowed to explore how to control the total amount of in-service cars, and introduce eco-labels for vehicles, so as to explore a path to control vehicle emission for the 13th Five-Year Plan period.
6. Why are the reduction measures in the 12th Five-Year Plan period said to be more specific?
In the 11th Five-Year Plan period, it was required that the urban municipal wastewater treatment capacity be up by 45 million tons and that the in-service coal-fired power plants build up 167 million kW of power generation units equipped with desulphurization facilities. However, there was difficulty in assigning the tasks to local regions. In the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the reduction measures are specific and local regions are informed of the measures to be taken and the scale of reduction projects, through the target responsibility documents. The reduction measures are as follows.
1) By the year 2015 all of the counties and major towns will have been able to process wastewater, and 85% of the municipal wastewater will be treated before discharged into the environment. Local regions are well informed about this and carry out the projects completely. They propose the wastewater treatment capacity to be increased and together constitute the 42 million tons of increased wastewater treatment capacity. The practice in the 11th Five-Year Plan period of assigning the tasks of increasing treatment capacities to local regions after estimation is no longer applied.
2) Above 50% of the scaled livestock and poultry breeding farms and plots will have supporting waste disposal facilities. Accordingly, the minimum percentage for local regions will be 50%.
3) Key wastewater sources such as paper-making, printing and dyeing, petrochemical, leather-making, and food processing sectors will be thoroughly treated, and more efforts will be made to use reclaimed water.
4) Basically phasing out the yellow-labeled vehicles registered prior to 2005. The timetable and vehicle types to be phased out are specified. Through the eco-label management of vehicles, the amount of vehicles to be phased out and the reduction efforts are quantifiable, so the tasks are very specific.
5) The new coal-fired power generation units need to install desulphurization and denitrification facilities, and the in-service coal-fired power generation units must install desulphurization facilities. The units that fail to meet the emission standards need to be upgraded and renovated, the flue gas desulphurization facilities need to remove the flue gas bypass as required. It is clearly stated that the coal-fired power generation units need to install flue gas desulphurization facilities during the 12th Five-Year Plan period. To seal the flue gas bypass by lead in the 11th Five-Year Plan period was an ineffective approach, but to remove the bypass during the 12th Five-Year Plan period is a fundamental approach. The desulphurization efficiency is expected to increase substantially since the new emission standards for air pollutants from thermal power plants are already announced.
6) An individual coal-fired power generation unit with capacity at or above 300,000 kW needs to install denitrification facilities. The power corporations know clearly what to do.
7) Flue gas desulphurization facilities need to be installed for the sintering machines in the iron and steel making sector, and new sintering machines need to install the desulphurization and denitrification facilities. There are about 1,100 sintering machines throughout the country. According to the industrial policies, those whose capacity was below 90m2 will be phased out, and the 503 ones whose capacity is above 90m2 will be installed desulphurization facilities.
8) The new dry-process cement kiln will be renovated for low-nitrogen incineration technologies and installed supporting denitrification facilities. The cement output throughout the country reached 1.88 billion tons in 2010, and the nitrogen oxides emitted by this sector was only second to the power generation sector. The cement output will increase in the 12th Five-Year Plan period. The nitrogen oxides control tasks of in-service production capacities are clearly specified, and the new production capacity needs to install denitrification facilities with denitrification efficiency no less than 60% in accordance with the conditions for access to this industry.
9) Key industrial sectors including the petrochemical, non-ferrous metal, and building materials sectors will be transformed with desulphurization facilities. The kilns that emit sulfur dioxides are the focus of the 12th Five-Year Plan, and they need to be transformed if failing to meet the emission standards. The measures to be taken need to be specific, so local region need to make a list of their pollution reduction projects and include them in the target responsibility documents. These key projects are the basis for achieving the reduction targets of the four major pollutants. However, the reduction targets cannot be achieved even all of the key projects are completed. Further reduction efforts are made through phasing out inefficient production capacities. The faster the economic development is, the larger the scale of inefficient production capacities to be phased out. The target-driven mechanism will be applied to advance the phase-out of inefficient production capacities. As a matter of fact, the policy for local regions to phase out inefficient production capacities has been nailed down. For example, the tasks to phase out inefficient production capacities in 18 key industrial sectors were assigned to local regions, including phase-out of 28.2 million tons of iron-making capacity, 26.67 million tons of steel-making capacity, 18.7 million tons of coking capacity, 133.55 million tons of cement production capacity, 7.577 million tons of paper-making capacity, 3.95 million standard pieces of leather-making capacity, and 1.7 billion m of printing and dyeing capacity.
7. Many policies in support of pollution reduction efforts will be introduced during the 12th Five-Year Plan period, what policies will be tougher?
Many policies including legal, economic, and environmental policies will be introduced during the 12th Five-Year Plan period. Some of them need to be further elaborated by relevant authorities. I take the following three polices as an example.
1) For municipal wastewater treatment, the policy says to step up the efforts to set up a platform for monitoring municipal wastewater treatment plant, raise the percentage of wastewater collected, do a good job in operating treatment plants and evaluation of the pollutant reduction efforts, and take the evaluation results as the basis for allocating wastewater treatment funds. This policy aims to change the previous practice of allocating wastewater treatment funds in accordance with the amount of wastewater treated, because the main function of a wastewater treatment plant is to cut down the emissions.
2) Efforts will be made to implement the pricing policy for electricity generated by power generation units with desulphurization facilities and to work on developing the pricing policy for electricity generated by power generation units installed with flue gas denitrification facilities in coal-fired power plants. In the 11th Five-Year Plan period, to introduce preferential pricing policy for electricity generated by units with desulphurization facilities is essential for the leap-forward development and stable operation of coal-fired power plants installed with desulphurization facilities. In the 12th Five-Year Plan period, this effective pricing policy will be continued and tightened. In the meantime, the pricing policy for electricity generated by units installed with denitrification facilities will be introduced. The pricing mechanism of electricity is to make marginal or no profits and incorporate the fixed investment and operation cost of the power plants into the electricity price. The desulphurization and denitrification facilities have become the standard setup of a coal-fired power plant, and like the boilers and stream turbines, are an integral part of the power generation system. So it is a matter of time to introduce the pricing policy for electricity generated by power generation units with denitrification facilities.
3) Banning new projects through environmental impact assessment in regions with excessive pollution. In the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the evaluation of the pollution reduction efforts and the policy of banning new projects through environmental impact assessment in regions with excessive pollution greatly advanced the construction of wastewater treatment plants and desulphurization facilities and the phase-out of inefficient production capacities. In the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the above-said policy will be continued and tightened, and applied in the following four circumstances. a) Regions where the development of municipal wastewater treatment facilities lags behind, the wastewater treatment fees are not collected according to relevant policies, the amount of wastewater treated by wastewater treatment plants accounts for less than 60% of the designed treatment capacity, and established wastewater treatment facilities are not operated without just cause. The state funds for relevant projects will be halted. b) Banning new projects through environmental impact assessment for a period of time in regions and enterprises that fail to meet reduction targets. c) Banning new projects through environmental impact assessment for a period of time in regions and enterprises that fail to carry out pollution reduction projects in accordance with the target responsibility documents. As entrusted by the State Council, MEP will sign target responsibility documents for reduction of total amount of major pollution during the 12th Five-Year Plan period, with local provinces, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and eight corporations. Each of the projects has a time frame, and the regions and corporations that fail to complete the projects and put them into operation within the time frame, except force majeure, will be banned new projects by not giving environmental reviews. d) Regions that fail to phase out inefficient production capacities as scheduled. The investment projects arranged by the State will be strictly controlled, and the approval, examination, and record-keeping formalities of the construction projects in key industrial sectors will be halted in the region concerned.
8. What are the measures to be taken to step up the groundwork and capacity building for pollution reduction efforts?
1) Improving the statistics, monitoring and evaluation schemes for pollution reduction. Efforts will be made to amend and improve the measures for the statistics, monitoring, verification, and accounting of pollution reduction efforts, unify the standards and analytical methods, and realize the sharing of monitoring data; step up the statistics and monitoring of ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxides, and designate the statistics and monitoring indicators for the agricultural-source pollution and vehicle emissions; improve the evaluation methods for pollution reduction efforts, and continue the reporting of the national and local emissions quotas of major pollutants.
2) Accelerating the development of environmental standards. Efforts will be made to accelerate the development of and amendments to mandatory national standards such as the emission standards for key industrial sectors, in order to raise the access conditions; develop and improve the standards for environmental products and equipment; improve the standards regarding the limits to the fuel consumption of automobiles and the emission standards of low-speed automobiles; develop/amend the Phase V emission standards for light-type vehicles and announce and introduce the Phase IV and Phase V national standards for vehicle-use fuels; develop the emission standards that meet the control targets for ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxides; encourage local regions to develop tougher local standards for energy conservation in accordance with law.
3) Stepping up the capacity building for regulation on emissions reduction efforts. Efforts will be made to advance the standardization of environmental regulation agencies, improve the capacities of monitoring pollution sources, monitoring vehicle emissions, testing agricultural-source pollution, and administration on pollution reduction, set up a three-layer (national, provincial, and municipal) pollution reduction monitoring scheme, and enhance the staff training and development.
9. What are the requirements of the State Council for fulfilling the target responsibility for pollution reduction and enhancing the organization and leadership?
The State Council proposed the following requirements in the circular on the printing and distribution of the comprehensive working programme on energy conservation and emissions reduction during the 12th Five-Year Plan period: to fulfill the target responsibility for energy conservation and emissions reduction, and develop the working framework of taking the government as the leading role, the enterprises as the main player, and the market as the driving force, and engaging the whole society in energy conservation and emissions reduction; to substantially play the leading role of the government, and further following the requirement that local people's governments at all levels be responsible for energy conservation and emissions reduction of their respective administrative regions and the government leader as the first responsible person; to further identify the companies' main responsibility for energy conservation and emissions reduction, work harder to spread the market-based mechanism, and enable the energy conservation and emissions reduction efforts to become the incumbent requirements for companies and all stakeholders; further enhance the awareness of the whole nation on resources conservation and environmental protection, advance the campaign of the whole nation participating in energy conservation and emissions reduction, and create good atmosphere for this.
Efforts will also be made to step up the organization and leadership of the reduction of the total amount of major pollutants, pay close attention to the supervision and inspection, and conduct strict evaluation and accountability. MEP shoulders the major responsibility for pollution reduction, and other relevant departments need to perform their own duties and give cooperation. Provincial people's governments need to assign the pollution reduction tasks for their own region in the 12th Five-Year Plan period and further identify the responsibility of relevant departments, their division of labor and progress.
10. The 11th Five-Year Plan proposed the goal to reduce both the COD discharge and SO2 emissions by 10%, while the 12th Five-Year Plan proposed the goal to reduce them by 8%. What are the reasons?
In the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the State considered the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and sulfur dioxide as the mandatory targets for pollution reduction, which made remarkable progress and played an active role in improving the environmental quality. These efforts will be continued in the 12th Five-Year Plan period. It is proposed that the COD discharge and SO2 emissions are to be brought down by 8% from the 2010 levels, considering the environmental requirements of a well-off society in 2020, the pollution reduction potentials and the economic and technological feasibility of pollution treatment in the current stage, and in the principle of "seeking truth from facts, goals being attainable and controllable, sound basic conditions, and feasible supporting measures". There are four reasons for this.
1) In terms of pollution reduction capacity, the scope and potentials for reducing the COD and sulfur dioxides went down, along with the completion and operation of key pollution reduction projects such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and desulphurization facilities in coal-fired power plants. In the 11th Five-Year Plan period, desulphurization facilities were completed and put into operation in coal-fired power plants with total capacity of 532 million kW. By the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the installed capacity of thermal power generation units with desulphurization facilities had reached 578 million kW, accounting for 82.6%, up from 12% in the year 2005. The municipal wastewater treatment capacity increased by over 65 million m3/day. By the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the municipal wastewater treatment capacity had reached 125 billion m3/day, and 77% of the municipal wastewater had been treated before discharged into the environment, up from 52% in 2005. The flue gas desulphurization facilities for the sintering machines in the iron and steel industry increased to 170 sets from zero. The pollution reduction potentials through new pollution treatment projects will become lower in the 12th Five-Year Plan period, and the main instruments for pollution reduction are to improve the efficiency and up-to-standard rate of treatment facilities through further restructuring and enhanced management, so as to give play to the pollution reduction benefits through policies, management and science and technology.
2) In terms of the progress in pollution reduction, in the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the total amount of COD and SO2 went down by 12.45% and 14.29% respectively, finishing the 10% reduction tasks ahead of schedule thanks to the efforts of local regions to take tougher measures, give full play to the three pollution reduction measures through projects, restructuring, and administration. In the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the COD and SO2 would be cut down by 8%. The reduction percentages of the two pollutants in the two periods were both above 20% from the 2005 level. In some provinces in eastern China, the COD reduction percent in the decade was approximately 40%, so the pollution reduction tasks are tough.
3) From the perspective of the environmental quality conditions, thanks to the efforts made in the 11th Five-Year Plan period, the COD concentration in the surface water and SO2 level in the air dropped to some extent. Taking the COD for an example, the monitoring data indicated that in 2010 59.6% of the sections in the seven major waters under national monitoring program saw water quality at or above Grade III level, up from 41% in the year 2005. However, the concentration of ammonia nitrogen in waters and the level of nitrogen oxides in the atmospheric environment were on the rise and became the major pollution factor that had adverse impact on the environmental quality. Some of the waters especially closed waters such as lakes and reservoirs suffered from prominent eutrophication problems, and ammonia nitrogen and total nitrogen became the primary pollutants.
4) From the perspective of pollution reduction through administration, in the 12th Five-Year Plan period, agricultural sources and vehicles became obligatory targets for the first time. The basic capacity in these areas were still poor, the statistics, monitoring and management instruments need to be enhanced, and the scheme for regulation of the reduction of the total amount of vehicle emissions and agricultural source pollution need to be developed and improved. Taking the COD for example, the COD discharged from agricultural sources accounts for one half of the total, while the livestock and poultry breeding farms are the primary pollution source. So, considerations should be given to the technical and economic feasibility of treatment of pollution by livestock and poultry breeding farms and the agricultural production and the income of rural residents should not be affected while determining the pollution reduction goals.
The 8% reduction goal of COD and SO2 in the 12th Five-Year Plan period will have been achieved on the basis of treating the new pollution caused by the five years' economic and social development. Taking into considerations the treatment of new pollution, the reduction amount of the two pollutants accounted for around 30% of the total emission in the year 2010, so the reduction tasks are very arduous.
The 12th Five-Year Plan for control of the emission cap of chemical oxygen demand in local regions (omitted)
The 12th Five-Year Plan for control of the emission cap of ammonia nitrogen in local regions (omitted)
The 12th Five-Year Plan for control of the emission cap of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in local regions (omitted)
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)