China Premier Li Keqiang vows to crack down on climate laws and pollution
- 05 March 2015
UPDATE March 6, 2015 - The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Finance Ministry have also released a 2015-2020 action plan on the efficient use of coal, pledging to slash coal consumption by 160 million tonnes in an attempt to reduce air pollution.
BEIJING: China's National People's Congress started today, with Premier Li Keqiang vowing to fight even harder to curb China's pollution problem by introducing cleaner energy and clamping down on illegal emissions.
During the opening of the National People's Congress (NPC) which is closely followed by global markets, Premier Li Keqiang promised China will continue to "fight with all our might" to tackle the country's still rising pollution levels, saying it is a "blight on people's quality of life and a trouble that weighs on their hearts."
To ease pollution's impact on the economy, according to newswires the government will replace coal with alternative energy sources in the most polluted areas, reduce emissions per unit of economic output by 3.1%, and implement harsher rules on emissions.
Premier Li said: "We must strictly enforce environmental laws and regulations; crack down on those guilty of creating illegal emissions and ensure they pay a heavy price for such offenses; and hold those who allow illegal emissions to account, punishing them accordingly."
Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, points out ongoing efforts like this are needed from government: “We are now one year since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared ‘war on pollution’ at last year's session of the NPC. This proves that while lots of efforts have been and are being made, the result does not come around immediately. Rather, it requires steadfast and continued efforts to really instil the clean revolution at the heart of how political leaders govern the country.”
China currently leads global investment in clean energy, with last year's figures totalling US$89.5 billion which is almost 29% of the world’s total renewables investment.
A few days after this year’s NPC, Changhua Wu will take part in a live Twitter Q&A to discuss the critical outcomes, as we begin the transition into the government's 15th Year Plan. She added: "The policy for this plan is already in place, but we need real targets to translate into reality. Let’s hope this is what we see come out of Beijing next week.”
From today, around 3,000 delegates are expected to attend the week-long annual meeting in Beijing to discuss key policy issues. Premier Li Keqiang began the meeting by announcing the country will lower its economic growth target to around 7%, which is in line with its plan to steer slower, more sustainable growth.
Among a raft of new economic measures he revealed a target to generate 10 million new jobs in 2015 as well as a better environment for entrepreneurs and foreign investors. The government also aims to connect off-grid rural communities to electricity.
Join Changhua Wu on Twitter on March 16 at 11.30am London time/7.20pm Beijing time. Ask your questions using #CleanRevolution and follow us @ClimateGroup and @ChanghuaWu.
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By Clare Saxon Ghauri