SHANGHAI: China will introduce new incentives to cut pollution and carbon emissions this year, but flexibility and stability remain the country’s top priorities as economic pressures mount, the government said in documents published on Saturday (Mar 5).
China’s environmental commitments have come under scrutiny this year as it tries to shore up growth and reduce the impact of stringent COVID-19 control policies on its economy and supply chains.
President Xi Jinping said in a speech in January that the country’s ambitious low-carbon goals should not come at the expense of energy and food security or the “normal life” of ordinary people.
China’s government work report, delivered to the annual session of parliament by Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday, said that stability, the expansion of domestic demand and food and energy security would remain major priorities in 2022.
Li said China would “work harder” to make coal use cleaner and more efficient, update coal-fired power plants to make them more efficient, and enhance the capacity of grids to absorb power produced by renewable sources.
But efforts to reduce coal consumption and bring emissions to a peak would be done in a “well-ordered way”, he added.
China, the world’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, has pledged to become carbon neutral by around 2060, with emissions peaking before 2030.
A separate report published by the state planning agency on Saturday said China would “balance development and emission reductions as well as current needs and long-term benefits”.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said “an appropriate level of flexibility” on energy consumption in order to keep the economy steady, and it warned against the “overly simplistic and mechanical” implementation of policies by local governments.