China’s State Council released the “Circular of the State Council on the Printing and Distribution of the 12th Five-Year Plan for Energy Saving and Emission Reduction (guofa  No.40, hereinafter referred to as ‘Circular’)” on August 8, 2012, aiming to transform the mode of economic development, establish an energy-saving and environmentally-friendly society, and strengthen the capacity of sustainable development.
The Circular lays out the current situation of energy-saving and emission reduction in China and sets out the key development objectives for the 12th Five-Year Plan period; moreover, it puts forward the main tasks and key development projects for the period.
The current situation
During the 11th Five-Year Plan period, energy-saving and emission reduction made significant progress, specifically:
- Energy consumption grew at an average annual growth rate of 6.6 percent, supporting the 11.2 percent annual growth rate of the national economy.
- Energy consumption per unit of GDP was reduced by 19.1 percent.
- Total sulfur dioxide emissions and total COD emissions were reduced by 14.29 percet and 12.45 percent, respectively.
Key developments by 2015
- Reducing the energy consumption per RMB10,000 of GDP to 0.869 tons of standard coal (based on prices in 2005) – a 16 percent decrease from 1.034 tons in 2010 and a 32 percent decrease from 1.276 tons in 2005.
- Saving 670 million tons of standard coal in the 12th Five-Year plan period.
- Controlling total COD emissions and total sulfur dioxide emissions at 23.476 million tons and 20.864 million tons, decreasing by 8 percent from 25.517 million tons and 22.678 million tons from 2010, respectively.
- Controlling total ammonia nitrogen emissions and total nitric oxide emissions at 2.38 million tons and 20.462 million tons, decreasing by 10 percent from 2.644 million tons and 22.736 million tons from 2010 respectively.
Main tasks during the 12th Five-Year Period
As provided by the Circular, there are three main tasks for the 12th Five-Year plan period, which are:
Adjusting and optimizing the industry structure
- Curbing the excessive growth of high-energy consumption and high-emission industries
- Accelerating the elimination of backward capacity
- Promoting the upgradation of traditional industries
- Adjusting the structure of energy consumption
- Promoting the development of the service industry and emerging strategic industries
Improving the level of energy efficiency
- Strengthening industrial energy saving
- Advancing energy-saving in the construction industry
- Advancing energy-saving and emission reduction in the transportation industry
- Promoting agricultural and rural energy saving
- Promoting commercial and civil energy saving
- Strengthening the energy saving of public institutions
Strengthening the emission reduction of major pollutants
- Strengthening the construction of urban sewage treatment facilities
- Advancing pollutant reduction in key industries
- Implementing the prevention and control of agricultural sources
- Controlling pollution emissions from automobiles
- Promoting the treatment of PM2.5
Key energy-saving and emission reduction projects
The Circular specially emphasizes the development of the following 10 projects during the 12th Five-Year plan period:
Energy-saving renovation projects
Energy-saving projects to directly benefit the people
Management and promotional projects relating to contracting energy
Model projects of energy-saving technology industrialization
Projects relating to the construction of urban sewage treatment facilities
Projects for the prevention and control of water pollution in key valleys
Desulfurization and denitration projects
Projects designed for the prevention and control of livestock and poultry breeding pollution
Model projects promoting a circular economy
Projects which involve building energy-saving and emission reduction capacity