China

CN-19:Low Carbon Development Zones

Policy Description

In August 2010, after approval by the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China decided to pilot the low-carbon policy and announced the selection of five provinces and eight cities as low carbon development zones. The five provinces are: Guangdong, Liaoning, Hubei, Shaanxi and Yunnan; and the eight cities are Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Guiyang, and Baoding. Among other requirements, the low carbon development zones are required to develop low carbon action plans and implement them after they are approved by provincial governments and reviewed by the central government. 

Industrial energy consumption is the largest energy end-use in these provinces and regions, typically accounting for around 60% of total energy use, so low-carbon plans and actions will include a focus on industrial energy efficiency and carbon mitigation.

Description

 

In 2008, the former Ministry of Construction (currently the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, MOHURD) and the World Wildlife Fund piloted a “Low-carbon City” program in Shanghai and Baoding (Hebei Province).

In August 2010, after approval by the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China decided to pilot the low-carbon policy and announced the selection of five provinces and eight cities as low carbon development zones [1].

The selection of the piloting locations was based on local governments’ applications combined with other factors, such as local variations and representativeness of different regions. The five provinces are: Guangdong, Liaoning, Hubei, Shaanxi and Yunnan; and the eight cities are Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Guiyang, and Baoding. Industrial energy consumption is the largest energy end-use in these provinces and regions, typically accounting for around 60% of total energy use, so low-carbon plans and actions will include a focus on industrial energy efficiency and carbon mitigation.

The low carbon zones were mentioned in the 12th Five Year Plan which was released in March 2011. The initial announcement laid out the following general work plan:

  • Develop low-carbon development plan­  
  • Establish supporting policies to support low-carbon development
  • Accelerate industries that have low carbon emissions as key characteristics
  • Establish greenhouse gas data collection and management system
  • Promote low-carbon/green lifestyle and consumption pattern 

The low carbon development zones are required to develop low carbon action plans and implement them after they are approved by provincial governments and reviewed by the central government. Based on different local conditions and industry characteristics, local cities or provinces have identified focus areas, as outlined in the table below. Local-level governments are required to complete the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory of 2005 [2], and set up local carbon intensity reduction targets for the 12th FYP and 2020 [3]. Also, they are tasked to explore a CO2 monitoring system and conduct research and development related to carbon capture and sequestration and low carbon technologies. 

 

Focus Areas of Low Carbon Development Zones

Province/City

Low Carbon Action Plans

Date

Focus Areas

Tianjin

Climate Change Action Plan of Tianjin City

2010

Collaborate with Singapore and Japan to build eco-city and low-carbon demonstration zones

Chongqing

N/A

 

Accelerate the development of low-carbon transport, green buildings and green lighting

Shenzhen

Medium to Long Term Low Carbon Development Plan of Shenzhen (2011-2020)

2011

One of the low-carbon eco-cities selected by MOHURD

Xiamen

Low Carbon City Overall Planning of Xiamen

2010

Low-carbon transport, low-carbon buildings

Hangzhou

Implementation Suggestions on the Development of Low Carbon Cities

2009

Build a low-carbon city with low-carbon economy, low-carbon buildings, low-carbon transport, low-carbon lifestyle, low-carbon environment, and low-carbon society

Nanchang

Action Plan of Low Carbon Economy and Low Carbon Cities in Nanchang

Nanchang Low Carbon City Development Plan

2009

 

2011

Establish the first city-level/regional carbon emission/energy consumption monitoring system and establish public reporting system of carbon emissions

Guiyang

Low Carbon Development Action Plan of Guiyang City (2010-2020)

2010

Explore carbon emission trading under the existing environmental trading platform

Baoding

Baoding Government’s Suggestions on the Development of Low Carbon City (tentative)

2008

Establish “China Electricity Valley ” and “City of Solar Energy”

Guangdong

Low Carbon City Planning

2011

Low-carbon industry; promotion of energy efficient technologies and non-fossil energy use; promotion of low-carbon pilots and demonstration projects

Yunnan

Low Carbon Development Planning of Yunnan Province

2011

Renewable energy sources, industrial energy efficiency, solar energy application in buildings, low-carbon transportation, low carbon industrial parks, and GHG data collection, monitoring, reporting system

Liaoning

N/A

N/A

N/A

Hubei

N/A

N/A

N/A

Shaanxi

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

 

Policy Information Expand this section for information on the key features of the policy, such as its date of introduction, categorization, main objective(s) and linkages with other policies.

Policy Categorisation

Policy Instrument Type: Administrative, Information & Outreach

Position in the Pyramid

About Us

Participation: Mandatory

Period

Start Date: 2010

End Date: 2015

Policy Linkages

Supports Energy and Carbon Intensity Targets of the 12th Five Year Plan Effort Defining

Agencies Responsible

National Development and Reform Commission
Local, Provincial, Central governments

Primary Objective: GHG Emissions

Objective

­-- To support the target of reducing 40-45% carbon intensity below 2005 levels by 2020 ­-- To explore practices and methods to mitigate climate change -- To promote green development during China’s rapid urbanization and industrialization

Target Group

Five provinces: Guangdong, Liaoning, Hubei, Shaanxi and Yunnan; Eight cities: Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Guiyang, and Baoding.

Driver of energy consumption or emissions affected by policy: Total GHG emissions

Implementation Information Expand this section for information on targets, monitoring, verification and enforcement regimes, and implementation requirements and tools.

Coverage

Five provinces and eight cities

Quantitative Target? no

Progress Monitored? yes

Verification Required? yes

Enforced? yes

Requirements on the Target Group

Develop low-carbon development plans

  • Incorporate low carbon development plans into city or provincial 12th FYP 
  • Identify targets, key tasks and specific measures to control GHGs
  • Explore the development pattern for low-carbon economy

Establish supporting policies to support low-carbon development

  • Explore mechanisms for energy conservation and low carbon industry
  • Implement target accountability system for GHGs emissions
  • Explore economic incentive policies
  • Research how to use market mechanisms to realize GHGs emission targets

Accelerate industries that have low carbon emissions as key characteristics

  • Integrate with local industry characteristics and development strategies
  • Promote RD&D of low-carbon technologies
  • Track and follow up with the latest development in low-carbon technologies

Establish greenhouse gas data collection and management systems

  • Enhance GHG emissions data collection
  • Complete GHG emissions inventory of 2005
  • Establish comprehensive data collection and accounting system
  • Build up local capacity in GHG emissions accounting

Promote low-carbon/green lifestyle and consumption pattern

  • Organize workshops and trainings for local governmental officials
  • Disseminate information on low-carbon lifestyle and products 

 

Support by Government

  • Established low carbon offices or leading groups in the pilot location governments [3]
  • Study tours and workshops for local governments to learn low-carbon development experiences and mechanisms, e.g., GHG emissions trading
  • Encourage collaboration between local governments with international countries
  • Increase information exchange between local governments and cities [2]

Implementation Toolbox

  • Study tours for local governments to learn experiences in low carbon development 
  • Workshops on low carbon development zones 

Complexity of Implementation

Government

This is the first time that the central government started piloting low carbon development zones, with limited experiences. Currently, the central government is only providing political support and general guidance, but has not provided any financial or fiscal incentives.

Target Group

The target group, i.e., the five provinces and eight cities, have limited experiences in low carbon development, nor do they have established or standardized evaluation systems to assess progress or performance. The target group also received little fiscal incentives for the pilots, but may get early-entry advantages if the carbon-emission trading pilots start in the future.

Impacts, Costs & Benefits Expand this section to find information on policy effectiveness and efficiency.

Impact Quantitative Estimate Qualitative Estimate
Estimated effect on energy consumption or emissions The low carbon development zones (five provinces and eight cities) are required to develop low carbon development action plans as well as carbon intensity reduction targets by 2015 and 2020. This is expected to have a positive impact on reducing carbon intensity in the pilot zones in the long-run.
Estimated costs/benefits for industry Most of the low carbon development zones have established their low carbon development action plans and are required to identify their carbon intensity reduction targets. However, provincial actions sometimes overlap with existing activities, and by far limited projects under the low carbon development action plans have been implemented. The cost for industry to reach the targets is unclear.
Estimated cost for government Currently, the central government is only providing political support and general guidance, but has not provided any financial or fiscal incentives.The transaction cost for the central government is unclear.

References & Footnotes

References

[1] NDRC, 2010. The Notice of Piloting Low-Carbon Provinces and Low-Carbon Cities, August 2010. http://www.sdpc.gov.cn/zcfb/zcfbtz/2010tz/t20100810_365264.htm

[2] NDRC, 2011. The Workshop on Piloting National Low-Carbon Provinces and Low-Carbon Cities was held in Chongqing. February 2, 2011. http://www.ndrc.gov.cn/dffgwdt/t20110201_394120.htm

[3] State Council Information Office, 2011. China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change. http://www.ccchina.gov.cn/cn/NewsInfo.asp?NewsId=30192