China to make environmental protection a ‘pillar industry’ with its new ramped-up clean tech plan

Clare Saxon Ghauri
Reading time: 3 minutes
12 August 2013

BEIJING: China’s government has announced plans to boost investment in clean technology to reduce record levels of pollution in the country, indicating China’s commitment to advancing its low carbon economy.

Pillar industry

The Chinese State Council says it will increase support for clean energy through tax breaks and subsidies in order to grow the environmental protection industry 15% a year annually, generating a turnover of US$735 billion by 2015 and helping it to become a ‘pillar industry’ of China.

In response to rising pollution levels which are increasingly being blamed for threats to public health, the Council said the new plan would include research into low carbon vehicles and technology to control air, water and soil pollution.

The Council’s statement, published on the official website, said the government will also direct more funds into environmental protection work and support companies to issue related bonds.

Chinese leadership

In his first conference as Premier, following public outcry around China’s record-levels of pollution, Premier Li Keqiang vowed to tackle China’s smog and climate issues with set deadlines and tougher measures to tackle polluters. He said: "This government will show even greater resolve and take more vigorous efforts to clean up such pollution."

The country has already increased many of its clean energy targets. This year, China aims to add 10 GW of installed solar power capacity, which is up from 7 GW at the end of 2012, according to a government announcement. The goal for 2013 will put China within easy reach of its stated target of 21 GW of installed solar power capacity by 2015, when renewable energy in China is expected to account for about 10% of total energy consumption.

Green growth

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said: “This is one of the many plans under China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, which focuses on energy saving, emission reduction and industrial development. As well as being a major step forward, the plan also has a specific investment target, which gives clear policy direction and certainty. In line with upcoming major reform of financial and fiscal policy and mechanism, innovation and strong incentives could be expected in mobilizing capital flows towards China's green growth.”

China has also made strides on collaborating internationally, with landmark announcements made on reducing HFCs with the US and cooperation on green growth with the EU.

By Clare Saxon

Read our report 'Consensus and Cooperation for a Clean Revolution: China and global sustainable development'

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