China announces ten “tough measures” to combat atmospheric pollution

Clare Saxon Ghauri
25 June 2013

BEIJING: Premier Li Keqiang has announced ten air pollution prevention and control measures in China, following through on his pledge to use an "iron fist" on the country's pollution, a promise he made during his first news conference as Premier of China earlier in the year. 

Premier Li Keqiang introduced the ten air pollution prevention and control measures at a State Council executive meeting he chaired on June 14, where he also promoted the development of the solar photovoltaic industry.

The ten “tough measures” to curb China's pollution outlined by the Premier are:

  1. Reduce pollutant emissions through renovation of key industries. Accelerate the clean transformation of urban dust and fuel quality.
  2. Strictly control high energy consumption of high-pollution and other key industries’ production capacity.
  3. Improve public transport and clean energy production, reducing atmospheric pollutants emission intensity by 30% or more by 2017.
  4. Develop natural gas, coal methane and other clean energy supplies.
  5. Strengthen energy-saving and environmental indicator constraints on construction, land, power and water supply.
  6. Implement incentives and constraints on new energy saving mechanisms to increase sewage collection efforts, as well as increase support for air pollution control. Strengthen international cooperation to cultivate environmental protection and new energy industries.
  7. Enforce laws and standards for industrial restructuring and upgrading. Formulate or revise emission standards for key industries, using the proposed amendments of the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act and other laws. Heavy polluting industries and enterprises must disclose environmental information, and urban air quality rankings and penalties for violations will be established.
  8. Densely populated urban areas around the Bohai Sea, including Beijing, Tianjin, the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and other regions, must establish joint prevention and control mechanisms on atmospheric environmental targets and assessment systems.
  9. Establish local government emergency management in response to heavily polluted weather, and limit emissions from polluting enterprises and vehicles.
  10. Develop a code of conduct that can be applied to the whole society, with local government taking overall responsibility on local air quality. The main responsibility for the implementation of corporate pollution lies with the State Council’s relevant departments who should advocate conservation and green consumption patterns.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, commented: “While these ten measures will be effective in improving the positive impacts of regional air quality, if the measures intend to fundamentally solve the larger problem of all Chinese territories’ air quality, they need further thought and exploration. I think that these are only the first-stage, exploratory measures to solving China's environmental problems. We need a more profound change in order to endure the upfront cost challenges that initial change will bring.

“We are the perpetrators of the problem; and now we have to strive to become problem-solvers, among which the short-term cost must be paid by the government, business and society together, to secure a better future for all of us.”

Read Changhua’s blog for more of her thoughts on the ten measures.

Related news:

Changhua Wu: We need a more profound change to clean our energy structure

China unveils pioneering carbon trading scheme in Shenzhen

New Premier Li Keqiang pledges to use ‘iron fist’ on China’s pollution

China invested $65.1 billion in clean energy in 2012

China’s leadership transition: ready to drive the clean revolution

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