China’s annual Two Sessions closed in Beijing on 13 March, with legislators and political advisors having offered thousands of suggestions and proposals, including many in the field of climate and energy.
These focussed on the national carbon market, the idea of carbon budgeting, climate adaptation, the renewable energy industry and regional carbon-related industries.
Qian Feng, of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, suggested the government issue regulations on carbon emissions trading. He said the current national carbon market has a weak emission monitoring system for enterprises, and lacks an effective price mechanism. He also suggested improving the mechanism for emissions accounting, reporting and verification.
Lu Xiulu, director of Guangdong’s Department of Ecology and Environment, suggested carbon budget pilots be carried out at provincial and municipal levels. International experience shows that carbon budgeting effectively controls total emissions and resolves the problem of overuse and inequitable distribution of emission quotas, said Lu.
Delegates also proposed regional plans. For instance, the mayor of Shandong coastal city Weihai proposed to build a trading platform for marine carbon sinks. The chairman of Inner Mongolia Forest Industry Group suggested promoting the Daxinganling Forest’s role as a carbon sink. The president of Qinghai Federation of Industry and Commerce suggested building climate-resilient cities on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau.
Probably due to the central government’s attitude towards ensuring energy security with coal at the core, proposals around renewable energy had a quite specific industrial lens. These included prioritising meeting the electricity demand for the silicon industry, promoting the safety grading assessment and data disclosure for battery energy storage systems, as well as promoting the development of green hydrogen and hydrogen infrastructure.
A more innovative proposal is to develop and improve education on climate and energy in schools and universities, as the demand for such knowledge has been increasing in recent years.
Although discussions are lively on these proposals, it is hard to say if and how they will be adopted and finally become policies. Last year, the State Council handled 8,721 suggestions from National People’s Congress (NPC) delegates and 5,865 proposals from Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) delegates, accounting for 94.8% and 95% of those submitted respectively. Nearly 2,100 related policies and measures were introduced.
Read China Dialogue’s recent article on Chinese provinces’ push for both coal and clean energy.