7. We intensified environmental protection and energy and resource conservation, securing early achievements in promoting green development.
Energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell by 5% and 6.6% respectively, both surpassing annual targets. According to estimated figures, chemical oxygen demand was reduced by 2.6%, ammonia nitrogen emissions by 2.9%, sulfur dioxide emissions by 5.6%, and nitrogen oxide emissions by 4.0%. A year-on-year increase of 2.1 percentage points occurred in the proportion of days with good or excellent air quality for cities at or above prefectural level, while the annual average PM2.5 concentrations in 74 key cities dropped by 9.1%. The proportion of surface water with a national quality rating of Grade III or above rose by 1.8 percentage points year on year, and the proportion of surface water with a rating lower than Grade V, meanwhile, fell by 1.1 percentage points. Water consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP fell by 5.6%.
1) Work to promote ecological progress moved ahead.
We promulgated and implemented the measures on evaluating performance in advancing ecological progress. We decided to build pilot zones for ecological advancement in Fujian, Jiangxi, and Guizhou provinces, and stepped up the development of pilot demonstration zones for promoting ecological progress. We issued and implemented a number of reform plans on ecological progress, including: the pilot plan on improving the national system for natural-resource asset management; the guidelines for trial reforms to establish a system to bring county- and prefecture-level environmental monitoring, inspection, and law enforcement bodies directly under the jurisdiction of provincial-level environmental bodies; the plan for implementing the emissions permit system to tighten emissions control; and the guidelines on establishing and holding firm to the red lines for ecological conservation and on fostering market entities for environmental governance and ecological conservation. Pilot reforms of the compensation system for ecological and environmental damage were carried out in seven provinces and municipalities directly under the central government including Jilin.
The guidelines on bringing the river chief system into full operation were issued, and mechanisms for compensating ecological conservation efforts were improved. We moved faster to implement a new round of projects to return marginal farmland to forest and grassland, build key forest shelterbelts, comprehensively address the expansion of stony deserts, control the sources of dust storms affecting Beijing and Tianjin, and bring soil erosion under control. A basic framework for wetland conservation was put in place. The central government carried out environmental inspections.
2) The development strategy for functional zones was further implemented.
Key ecosystem service zones have been established in 676 counties and 87 forestry bureaus in key state forestry areas. A negative list for industry access to key ecosystem service zones was issued and put into force. Work got under way in 11 coastal provinces to draw up and implement plans for marine functional zones. The plan for establishing a national park system on a trial basis was implemented, with trials going ahead in national parks at the Yangtze, Yellow, and Lancang river sources, in the habitats of Siberian tigers, Far Eastern leopards, and giant pandas, in the Shennongjia area, in the Wuyi Mountains, and at the source of the Qiantang River. The mechanisms for monitoring and providing early warning on the carrying capacity of resources and the environment were basically established, with initial trials being implemented in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The pilot project for municipal or county-level governments to integrate various types of urban plans into a single urban plan moved forward, and the plan to carry out spatial-planning trials at the provincial level was implemented. The National Land Plan (2016-2030) and the Adjustments to the General Plan for National Land Use (2006-2020) were introduced.
3) Sustained progress was made in energy conservation and emissions reduction.
The results of performance evaluations of provincial-level governments in fulfilling responsibilities for energy conservation targets during the 12th Five-Year Plan period were released to the public. The system to control both the total amount and intensity of energy and water consumption during the 13th Five-Year Plan period was established. Pilot projects to set up systems for the paid use and trade of energy consumption rights were carried out in Zhejiang, Fujian, Henan, and Sichuan provinces. We stepped up development of the circular economy, issuing the plan to create a system for extended producer responsibility and making strides in promoting circular operations within industrial parks. The plan for developing energy conservation and environmental protection industries during the 13th Five-Year Plan period was issued. The guidelines on establishing a green finance system were introduced and applied, bonds worth 229.66 billion yuan for launching eco-friendly initiatives were issued, and the energy conservation and environmental protection industries achieved robust growth in terms of both scale and strength.
4) More was done to comprehensively address environmental problems.
Stronger Measures on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region (2016-2017) were promulgated and implemented, and coal consumption in key areas was further cut. Coal-fired power plants were urged to swiftly upgrade their facilities and achieve ultra-low emissions. A total of 4.046 million old and high-emission vehicles were removed from roads nationwide. The Action Plan on Environmental Protection of the Yangtze Economic Belt (2016-2017) was implemented. Planning was completed on the establishment of protection zones for 319 centralized drinking water sources in 126 cities at or above prefectural level in 11 provinces and provincial-level municipalities. The National List of Major Drinking Water Sources was formulated.
We identified and cleaned up both black, malodorous water bodies and undesignated refuse dumping points in urban areas. A project to manage household refuse in rural areas got fully under way, and comprehensive measures were taken to improve the rural living environments. We issued the action plan to prevent and control soil pollution and the measures for soil environmental governance on polluted land plots, launched 14 related pilot projects aimed at prevention, control, and restoration, and also established six trial zones for comprehensively preventing and curbing soil pollution. Greater efforts were taken to comprehensively improve land in key areas contaminated by heavy metals. We continued to improve and restore the geological environment in mining areas throughout the country. We made headway in managing and controlling environmental risks and in responding effectively to environmental emergencies.
5) Our efforts to respond to climate change grew stronger.
A work plan to control greenhouse gas emissions during the 13th Five-Year Plan period was introduced. Trials and demonstrations to encourage low-carbon growth in provinces, municipalities, cities, towns, industrial parks, and communities proceeded in an orderly manner. Encouraging progress was made in establishing a national market for the trading of carbon emission rights. The Action Plan on Developing Climate Resilient Cities was promulgated.
We quickened the pace of South-South cooperation on climate change and launched cooperation projects in developing countries to set up 10 low-carbon demonstration zones, launch 100 mitigation and adaption programs, and provide 1,000 places on climate-change training programs. China was one of the first countries to sign the Paris Climate Agreement and also ratified it at a relatively early stage. The presidents of China and the United States deposited with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon their respective country’s instrument to join the Paris Agreement – the proposal to hold the ceremony, which was the first of its kind, was put forward by China, making a significant contribution toward the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement. China attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, where it played a constructive role and contributed to the overall success of the conference.