Green industries catalogue draft retains ‘clean coal’

The Green Industries Guidance Catalogue, published in 2019, has been revised for the first time and is open for public consultation until April 15. The draft has incorporated more project types related to climate change and biodiversity, and retains “clean coal” as a green industry.

The catalogue is an important milestone in the establishment of China’s green finance standards. In 2019, seven ministries jointly released the catalogue to help define where green loans could go and how local governments could develop local industry. China then revised its Green Bond Endorsed Projects Catalogue in 2021, bringing the previously fragmented domestic green bond standards into alignment.

The Green Industries Guidance Catalogue has three tiers ranging from general sectors to specific industries. Compared to the 2019 edition, which was published before China made its carbon neutrality pledge in 2020, the new catalogue includes many climate-related industries. For example, it adds a section on “Greenhouse gas emission control,” which includes carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), methane recovery and utilisation from oil and gas fields, development of alternatives to ozone-depleting substances, and greenhouse gas reduction in industrial processes.

The 2023 draft also introduces a new “Biodiversity” catalogue, referring to the protection of rare and endangered wildlife, conservation of animals and plants, protection of fisheries resources, and conservation of old and valuable trees, among other issues.

The new draft provides more detailed requirements for green buildings and lists out their different types. It emphasises the green supply chain and also refines the types of green transport.

However, it is noteworthy that the 2023 draft has retained “clean coal”, despite its removal from the definition of “eligible green project” in the 2021 Green Bond Endorsed Projects Catalogue. This aligns with China’s heightened concern with energy security following severe power shortages in 2021 and 2022, which is a factor in the recent expansion of new coal power plants.

Read China Dialogue’s article on how China’s 2021 green bond catalogue could be greener.