Climate Mitigation and Environmental Protection Policies Continue Unabated in China Despite COVID-19 / 新冠疫情下,应对气候变化和环境保护政策不停摆

Climate Mitigation and Environmental Protection Policies Continue Unabated in China Despite COVID-19 / 新冠疫情下,应对气候变化和环境保护政策不停摆

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim victims across the globe, China is gradually reducing the drastic measures that shut down much of the economy and stranded millions of workers at home, unable to get back to their workplace after the Chinese New Year. While crucial production remained operating on reduced holiday schedules, other economic activity and transport ceased entirely for weeks. 

The unintended side effect of the epidemic containment measures was a 25% reduction of CO2 emissions in the first quarter of 2020. It also led to a victory for biodiversity when it triggered the temporary ban on all hunting, farming, trading, transportation, and consumption of “terrestrial wildlife of important ecological, scientific and social value.” A revision of the wild animal law foresees stricter regulations that allow authorities to catch and punish poachers and traders more stringently. The environmental ministry is studying whether to include wild animal protection law enforcement into central environmental supervision.

By mid-March, China started resuming operations in an “orderly and staggered manner” to avert more damage to the economy and avoid job losses. Production resumption started from the least affected provinces with a priority on core industries related to PPE and medical materials, daily necessities, public utilities, agriculture, foreign trade, and high-tech. These industries also act as anchors to trigger ensuing up and downstream production and ensure a smooth supply chain. Hubei and its 10-million capital city, Wuhan, were the last regions to open shops. 

To tackle challenges with cash flow shortages of SMEs relevant fiscal policies and a cash injection of 1 trillion yuan were made available to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) weather a financial crunch. Measures included access to credit, temporary roll-over of debt, deferred payment of insurance premiums tax relief, etc. More money may become available at a later point in time.

Further relief to core industries as well as SMEs came in the form of relaxed environmental impact assessment requirements by the Ministry of Ecology & Environment. Companies producing medical and personal protection equipment, foodstuffs, and daily necessities with relatively small impact on the environment are to be exempt from onsite compliance checks and have access to faster approvals via online means. The MEE has also simplified assessments for some hard-hit, large-scale, and labor-intensive projects e.g. in infrastructure, manufacture, or transportation.

While China has not announced a large stimulus package thus far, the government has – in a move to expand its leadership in new energy vehicles and battery production – decided to help their ailing automotive and battery industry. The government plans to promote electric cars and plug-in hybrids as part of the country’s overall eco-friendly production and consumption campaign. Tax exemptions and lower VAT for new energy vehicles as well as targeted subsidies to encourage private consumption, public procurement, and replacement of heavily polluting diesel trucks are in the pipeline.


Activity Rating: *** Short-lived, temporary impact 

While the coronavirus pandemic has tied up much of China’s government resources over the past 3 months, work on environmental policies independent of the pandemic and current production resumption has continued. In March, the National Development and Reform Commission issued new policies regulating the acceleration of the development of a legal system for green production and consumption, as well as a program for building wind power and photovoltaic energy. 

2020 is a special year as the new 14th Five-Year-Plan is under development, defining the country’s development strategy for the next 5 years starting 2021. The solicitation phase for industries to contribute through respective industry associations is ongoing. Several policy papers have included provisions not only for market-based reforms but also for reforms aimed at mitigating climate change. For example, stepping up investment in and partnerships for renewable energies, reducing coal consumption, introducing an absolute carbon cap, setting a carbon price and opening up doors for innovative industries, green financing, and banking to enter the Chinese market, etc. 

If the Chinese government uses this juncture in time – which may see the closing of many smaller enterprises not equipped to shift from polluting production to cleaner manufacturing – to consequently shut down the legacy, non-sustainable enterprises in favor of new technologies, and to pursue its Manufacture 2025 program, the country has a real chance to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic stronger than before. 

Much though, remains to be done. Even without the usual car emissions and despite a drop of emission by 20 – 30% to normal average, February saw heavily polluted air during a spell of bad weather. Meteorological and atmosphere experts blamed the pollution on trapped lingering and current emissions from still operating industry – including steel mills and coal-fired power – in combination with weak wind, high humidity, and strong thermal inversion.


Take Action:

Please send the following message to the policymaker(s) below. 

Dear Minister / Dear Premier Li, 

We commend China on its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus within its borders and for your country’s efforts to make information available as soon as the scale of the problem and the contagious nature of the virus became clear and substantiated. 

We understand that keeping economic stability and people’s prosperity will be the most important task in the near future. At the same time, we see the epidemic as an opportunity to reflect and explore novel, more sustainable, and environmentally friendly ways to create economic prosperity and battle climate change at the same time. This should include the acceleration of a shift from polluting, high-energy consuming production to smart and innovative industries. Now presents an opportunity to phase out non-viable industries and to shift resources and investments to clean and energy-efficient production, innovative industries, and retraining of workers from old industries to gain the necessary skillsets for work in clean energy enterprises, light industry, etc. 

Now more than ever, it is clear that innovations addressing climate change will be the most viable road to prosperity. We hope that the strategic direction of the 14th Five-Year-Plan will reflect this with strong incentives and recommendations for innovation, environmental protection, and people development. 

Contact: 

Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China  

(For Chinese): http://59.252.101.55:8090/bzxx/pages/Proscenium/LetterContent.jsp

(For English) english@mail.gov.cn  

National Development & Reform Commission 

(for Chinese) http://xf.ndrc.gov.cn/xf/2019/ly.jsp

(For English) english@mail.gov.cn  

The State Council, Share your ideas with China’s Premier (in English) 

http://topic.media.gov.cn/topicdata/en/2020/index.html

premier@mail.gov.cn


This post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager: Annette Wiedenbach

Contact: awiedenbach@gmx.de



当下新冠疫情肆虐全球,而中国则已开始为经济松绑,之前政府采取的严控手段让经济停滞,使数百万工人羁留家中,即使春节后也无法重返工作岗位。
尽管关键的生产仍然按照减少的节假日维持着生产,但除此以外的经济活动和运输则完全停止数周。

 

新冠疫情遏制措施的意外结果是,中国2020年第一季度二氧化碳排放量减少了25%;疫情触发非法猎捕、养殖、交易、运输和消费“有重要生态、科学、社会价值的陆生野生动植物”的临时禁令,生物多样性得以保护。同时,可以预见野生动物保护法的修订会更严厉,允许当局加重抓捕、处罚偷猎者和贸易商的力度。国家生态环境部正在研究考虑将野生动物保护法纳入中央环境监管体系。

 

到3月中旬,为避免对经济造成更大损失和控制失业率,中国开始 “产业链协同有序复工复产”。具体步骤是从疫情最轻微的省市着手,以个人防护设备、生活必需品、公用事业、春耕备耕、外资外贸和高科技核心产业等领域为龙头,带动上下游企业复产,确保供应链衔接畅通。湖北以及其千万人口的省会武汉是最后一个开始复工复产的地区。

 

为了解决中小企业现金流短缺现状,银行业向这些企业注入了一万亿元人民币的金融支持,帮助它们度过金融危机。具体措施包括提高企业贷款可获得性,延期还本付息,鼓励保险公司延后保费缴纳时间、减税让利等。之后可能会公布更多的金融措施。

 

中国生态环境部放宽了对环境影响评估的要求,进一步减轻了核心产业和中小企业的负担。生产对环境影响较小的医疗与个人防护设备、食品和生活必需品的公司可免除现场合规性检查,并允许快速在线批准。 生态环境部还简化了一些重灾区、大型和劳动密集型项目的评估,例如基建业、制造业以及运输业。

 

迄今为止,中国尚未宣布大规模经济刺激计划,但政府已行动起来,帮助陷入困境的汽车和电池行业拓展其在新能源汽车和电池生产领域的领导地位。政府计划推广电动汽车和插电式混合动力汽车使用,作为该国整体环保生产和消费运动的一部分。具体手法是新能源汽车免购置税、低增值税和延长补贴,旨在促进私人消费、公共采购和污染严重的柴油卡车更换。


活动评分:*** 短期临时影响

 

尽管过去三个月新冠病毒的流行已经占用了中国政府大部分资源,然而与疫情和复产无关的环境政策工作仍在继续。3月,国家发展和改革委员会发布了新政策,其内容为加速发展绿色生产和消费法律体系以及建设风电和光伏能源的计划。

2020年作为特殊的一年还在于中国新的第十四个“五年计划”正在制定中,它将定义自2021年起未来五年的国家发展战略。目前处于通过不同行业协会征集各行各业的具体贡献阶段。有若干相关政策意见书不仅涉及了市场改革相关条款,还包括了应对气候变化改革方面的考量。例如,加大可再生能源的投资、建立相关合作伙伴关系,减少煤炭消费,实行绝对碳限额,设定碳价并为创新产业、绿色金融和银行业打开中国市场准入大门等。

 

如果中国政府抓住此契机——关闭那些没有能力从污染生产转型为清洁生产的小型企业——遂关闭了不可持续的传统企业,转而采用新科技并继续推行其“ 中国制造2025”,该国将切实有机会从新冠疫情中走出来并变得更强大。

 

然而,要做的还有很多。即使汽车使用减少,尾气排放量比正常平均水平降低了20%-30%,可是天气恶劣的2月依然遭受了严重的空气污染。气象和大气专家将污染归咎于仍在运转的行业(包括钢厂和燃煤电厂)排污与弱风、高湿度、强烈的热转化相结合的残留。


行动指南:请将以下信息传递给立法者

 

尊敬的部长/尊敬的李总理,

 

中国努力将新冠疫情传播遏制于国内,并且在事态发展和病毒传染性变得清晰明朗后的第一时间向世界提供信息的行为值得称颂。

 

我们都知道保持经济稳定、国泰民安是目前面临的最重要任务。或许可以将新冠疫情看作一个新机遇,用于反思和探索新颖、更具可持续性和环境友好的方法,在创造经济繁荣的同时更好应对气候变化。其中应包括加速从高污染、高耗能的生产向智能、创新行业转型。目前这种现状是淘汰不可行产业的好机会,将资源和投资转移到清洁和节能生产、创新产业上,通过对传统老旧行业工人的再培训,解锁其在清洁能源企业、轻工业等领域工作所需技能。

现在比以往任何时候都更加清晰,那就是——只有创新才能最好地应对气候变化。热切期盼“科技创新、环境保护和人类发展”被列入“十四五计划”战略大纲。


联络信息:

中华人民共和国生态环境部

http://59.252.101.55:8090/bzxx/pages/Proscenium/LetterContent.jsp

中华人民共和国国家发展和改革委员会

何立峰主任

http://xf.ndrc.gov.cn/xf/2019/ly.jsp


此文由Climate Scorecard国家经理:Annette Wiedenbach

Translation / 翻译:Jolin

 

电子邮件:awiedenbach@gmx.de


Sources / 参考资料

  • https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-has-temporarily-reduced-chinas-co2-emissions-by-a-quarter
  • https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/27/WS5e7d3e5aa310128217282577.html
  • http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2020-02/13/content_5478457.htm
  • http://www.miit.gov.cn/newweb/n1146290/n1146402/c7817571/content.html
  • http://www.mee.gov.cn/zcwj/zcjd/202003/t20200313_768877.shtml http://www.mee.gov.cn/xxgk2018/xxgk/xxgk03/202003/t20200304_767281.html
  • https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-china-environment/china-to-modify-environmental-supervision-of-firms-to-boost-post-coronavirus-recovery-idUSKBN20X0AG
  • https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/23/WS5e782a4fa31012821728139d.html
  • https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3077983/china-preps-new-coronavirus-stimulus-measures-some-ask-are
  • https://www.ndrc.gov.cn/xxgk/zcfb/tz/202003/t20200317_1223470.html
  • https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3050527/chinas-capital-shrouded-air-pollution-despite-reduced
  • https://rhg.com/research/preliminary-china-emissions-2019/

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