China's Climate and Energy Policy

Leadership efforts on the road to a low-carbon future


Overview

China is home to 20 percent of the world’s population and the world’s fastest growing economy. Between 1980 and 2010, its GDP grew forty-fold. The Chinese government has recognized that the resource intensity of its economy is not sustainable economically or environmentally, and it is increasingly encouraging growth driven by efficiency gains, technological innovation, and renewable energy.

Table of Contents

Overview

Top Lines

Energy and climate goals of the Chinese government

Energy sources and strategies to reduce emissions

The path forward

On June 30th 2015, China submitted its climate action plan, or Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  In it, China reaffirmed the terms of alandmark bilateral climate deal it agreed to with the United States in November 2014. It pledged to peak its total emissions “by around the year 2030,” with best efforts to peak significantly earlier, and to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 20 percent also by the year 2030.

China also announced two significant additions to the November deal: a target to reduce carbon intensity (the amount of carbon used per unit GDP produced) by 60-65% from 2005 levels and a goal to restore around 4.5 billion cubic meters of forested land above 2005 levels. The International Energy Agency (IEA) calls China’s 2030 peaking goal “an important change in direction,” as the country is increasingly decoupling its economic growth from further growth in emissions.

As part of its 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) for 2011–2015, China has invested significant resources in clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions control. The country is working to both cut down on air pollution and maneuver itself into a position to peak and then reduce emissions by sometime in the next decade. China has also raised its profile on the international stage as a leader on climate action, forging a strong bilateral climate pact with the U.S. and helping to broker the historic breakthrough in the Durban round of the UNFCCC negotiations, which brought all the countries together in an accord to reach a global agreement in Paris at the end of the 2015 calendar year.

China’s negotiating position is driven primarily by domestic considerations—energy demand, smog and economic restructuring—but international responsibility also plays a role. While China’s past and current carbon pollution emissions are relatively modest for a country its size, its future emissions would exhaust the remainder of the global carbon budget if the country does not transition to a higher percentage of clean energy. China’s constructive engagement in a global climate agreement is an absolute prerequisite for success in addressing climate change.

In short, the next few decades will be critical as China assumes an even larger role in climate negotiations and global energy markets and trends. Progress over the last year has been encouraging and, in the final months before the next big climate agreement is slated to be adopted in Paris, China is poised to play an active and productive role on furthering climate action including in two September 2015 events: as a participant in a joint US-China city level summit to promote low carbon urban development and in a second bilateral between President Xi and President Obama. The data and analysis below aim to clarify the progress made and the promise for even more ambitious action going forward.


Top Lines

China is the world’s leading producer of renewable energy, and also leads the world in clean energy investment. The Chinese government is working to meet its massive energy demand at minimal economic and environmental cost. China is the world leader in clean energy investment, with a record $89.5 billion invested in renewables in 2014, up 32 percent from the $60.8 billion invested the previous year. Renewable electric generation investment now exceeds all total investment in fossil fuel and nuclear energy.

Since 2007, the share of investment in renewables (as a proportion of all energy investments) has increased steadily, from 32 percent of the total in 2007 to approximately 59 percent in 2013. China installed more new non-fossil fuel capacity than fossil fuel capacity in 2013 and repeated that milestone in 2014. Currently, China has a total of 378 GW of renewable energy capacity, more than double the entire current capacity of renewables in the United States. China’s goal of generating 20 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 will require it to install an additional 800-1,000 GW of zero-emission facilities, equal to the size of the entire current U.S. electricity grid.

China is showing notable domestic political leadership on climate change. After devoting considerable attention to energy and climate issues in the 12th FYP, China’s leaders are incorporating further plans to limit emissions in the 13th FYP, to be finalized sometime in 2016.  China’s next five-year plan will develop the policy framework for scaling non-fossil fuels to account for 20 percent of China’s energy mix by 2030 and for sharply cutting the carbon intensity of its energy use by 60-65 percent from peak levels in 2005.

Part of this leadership consists of a set of sub-national initiatives currently in pilot program stage, including carbon pricing, cap and trade programs and a low-carbon cities initiative focusing on building renewable power and energy efficiency at city level. In fact, 11 major Chinese cities, including Beijing - that cumulatively account for an estimated 25% of China’s urban emissions - have pledged to peak their emissions before the national 2030 target year, some aiming for as early as 2020. China started these programs with an aim to implement them on a national scale if they prove to be effective. Chinese leaders have even stated that they may be ready to roll out a national cap-and-trade market as early as2016. In addition, China announced that it will cap emissions from the steel and cement industries in 2015 as part of its 2014-20 National Plan to Cope With Climate Change. Chinese steel and cement producers currently make up about one-fifth of the country's total carbon emissions.

China has committed to peaking its total greenhouse gas emissions around the year 2030 with best efforts to peak much earlier.  Some analysts estimate that both coal consumption and GHG emissions could peak within 10-15 years.  This would be welcome news to international negotiators, because a peak in Chinese emissions is essential to stay below 2°C of warming. China first made this promise in an announcement by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli at the UN Climate Summit in Sept. 2014, reiterated it in the historic climate pact signed with the U.S. two months later, and then reaffirmed it in China’s official submission to the UN in June 2015.

Coal production and consumption in China both fell in 2014 by more than 2 percent from 2013 values, marking the first decline in China’s coal consumption this century. In March 2015, China’s largest coal producer, Shenhua Energy Company, announced that both its domestic production and sales had dropped by 10 percent. This strongly indicates that 2015 will see another significant drop in China’s coal use, as the country increasingly decouples its economic growth from a high level of carbon pollution.

China is working with international partners, including the United States, on climate issues. The groundbreaking November 2014 climate pact between the U.S. and China established a collaborative framework for the world’s two largest emitters to cooperate on tackling climate change. In 2013, the U.S. and China also arrived at a jointbilateral agreement to work through existing Montreal Protocol and UNFCCC mechanisms to reduce the use ofhydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases emitted through a variety of industrial processes.

The climate leadership shown by China and the United States in these two bilateral deals has injected momentum into the multilateral UNFCCC negotiations in advance of the Paris climate negotiations at the end of this year. China and the US will likely reprise and possibly add to these bilateral climate pacts when President Xi and President Obama meet in September 2015 for a state visit in which climate will feature prominently on the agenda. Moreover, China has publicly stated that it supports a strong international climate agreement, and backed up that statement by submitting its INDC well in advance of the Paris meetings.


Energy and Climate Goals of the Chinese Government

China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) established three binding climate targets for 2015, as well as non-binding and unofficial targets. The chart below compares the major targets associated with the 12th FYP, to be achieved by 2015.

Source: Climate Policy Initiative and Tsinghua Annual Review of Low-Carbon Development in China (2011-2012).

China aims to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, as well as overall energy consumption. The plan sets a binding target to increase non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 11.4 percent of total use (from 8.3 percent) by 2015. The next FYP will include a roadmap for reaching the 2030 target of 20 percent of primary energy consumption from non-fossil fuels.

Also, while not formally enshrined in the 12th FYP, China’s cabinet approved a cap on total energy consumption of 4 billion tons of coal equivalent (tce) by 2015. In 2012, the country’s energy consumption was 3.62 billion (tce), meaning the Chinese government is trying to cap total growth in energy consumption at just above 3 percent per year through 2015 (compared to a 5.9 percent growth rate between 2009 and 2010). From January through September 2014, national total electricity consumption averaged 3.9 percent.

China will continue to grow economically at the same time as it consumes less energy. The 12th FYP sets an energy intensity (which is a measure of an economy’s energy efficiency) reduction target of 16 percent by 2015 (which builds on the 11th FYP energy intensity target of 20 percent). Between 1980 and 2010, China’s GDP increased by nearlyfortyfold, yet the amount of energy China consumed only quadrupled in a similar time period.

In response, the World Bank declared that, “China has successfully decoupled energy consumption and emissions from economic growth.” No other country at a similar stage of industrialization has managed a similar feat. The deeper cuts in the carbon intensity of generated energy announced in the country’s INDC, equaling reductions of 60-65 percent by 2030, signal that China intends to continue to decarbonize its economic growth.

Source: Prospects for Reducing Carbon Intensity in China, Xuan and Gallagher, 2014.

China is producing less carbon dioxide as it consumes less energy and uses more renewable energy. China’s CO2 emissions increased from 1.5 Gt in 1980 to 7.4 Gt in 2009, reflecting an annual growth rate of 5.6 percent over thirty years. Yet the Chinese economy grew even faster, resulting in a dramatic decrease in carbon intensity from 8.5 tons CO2 per 10,000 yuan of GDP in 1980, to 2.59 tons CO2 per 10,000 yuan in 2009—a 70 percent reduction.

In the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate negotiations in the fall of 2009, the Chinese government pledged a 40-45 percent reduction in national carbon intensity from 2005 levels by 2020. To achieve this 2020 target, the 12th FYP sets an interim target of reducing carbon intensity by 17 percent from 2010 levels by 2015.

In the first two years of the plan, carbon intensity dropped 6.6 percent, energy intensity fell by 5.5 percent, and non-fossil energy increased to 9.4 percent. Evidence suggests that most provinces are making progress towards meeting their 2015 goals. The plan also calls for an improved GHG emissions monitoring system to assess compliance with the carbon intensity target and to prepare national GHG inventories.

 

Energy Sources and Strategies to Reduce Emissions

China is the world’s most populous country and has a rapidly growing economy, which has driven the country’s high overall energy demand. To meet its continually growing demand, China has employed a multi-pronged approach. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2012 China’s primary energy consumption mix was comprised of the following:

Source of Energy

Coal

Oil

Hydroelectric

Natural Gas

Nuclear Power

Other Renewables

Percent of Consumption Mix

69%

18%

6%

4%

~1%

~1%

RENEWABLES AND LOW CARBON ENERGY SOURCES

China is seeing a massive increase in renewable electricity generation, from hydropower to wind, biomass, and solar. China leads the world in installed renewable energy capacity, and has sustained annual wind additions in excess of 10 GW for four straight years. China ranks first in the world in installed hydro power capacity,nuclear power capacity under construction, coverage of solar water heaters, and installed wind power capacity. It alsoranks second in cumulative installed photovoltaic power capacity at 18.3 GW. 

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, The Pew Charitable Trusts.

China’s recent focus on low-carbon energy policy was kick-started in 2005 with the passage of its Renewable Energy Law, followed in 2007 by the establishment of its Medium- and Long-Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy. These initiatives created a framework for regulating renewable energy and established four mechanisms to promote the growth of China’s renewable energy supply: a national renewable energy target, a mandatory connection and purchase policy, a feed-in tariff system for wind energy, and a cost-sharing mechanism that included a special fund for renewable energy development. Power companies also have mandatory renewable energy targets for both their generation portfolios and annual electricity production.

In March 2015, China’s State Council announced a plan to reform the power sector by improving the share of renewable energy in electricity generation, encouraging competition, and developing greater efficiency. The reforms will likely open the electricity sector to participation of private and foreign entities in the sale and distribution of power to the grid.

China is also expected to finalize and begin enforcement of a planned quota system, under which each of China’s provinces will be responsible for ensuring that a certain percentage of their electricity consumption will come from non-hydro renewable energy sources, primarily wind, solar, and biomass. The quotas will differ according to a province’s renewable energy resources (currently ranging between 2 percent and 10 percent). 

Source: JLJ Group.

Hydropower is a big part of China’s renewable energy mix, but cannot be scaled up indefinitely.China is the world leader in terms of hydropower capacity. China’s installed hydropower capacity at the end of 2012 totaled 248.9 GW, making it by far the country’s single largest renewable power source. By comparison, total small hydro capacity in the US is 49.6 GW. Although China has set a goal to increase capacity to 350 GW over the next five years, the potential for new large and small hydro capacity is not infinite, and the proportion of hydropower in China’s renewable energy mix is likely to decrease in the near future.

Wind and solar represent the greatest opportunity for renewable energy growth in China. A well-funded feed-in-tariff (FIT) and other government support since 2006 encouraged an annual doubling of wind capacity from 2006 to 2009, followed by 10,000 - 15,000 MW additions thereafter. In 2012, wind energy passed nuclear energy in installed capacity. In 2014, China installed 19.81 GW of new wind capacity and 10.6 GW of new solar capacity.

Moving forward, China’s “Wind Energy Development Roadmap 2050,” foresees wind power capacity reaching 200 GW by 2020, 400 GW by 2030, and 1,000 GW by 2050. China aims to install 17.8 GW of solar capacity in 2015, an increase of 68% on its 2014 numbers, and reach 100 GW of solar capacity installed by 2020.

Until recently, China installed very little solar power, even though it is the leading global manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) cells. However, between 2010 and 2012, China’s PV capacity grew nearly nine-fold to 7,000 megawatts (MW). In 2013, China added at least 11,300 MW, the largest PV addition by any country in a single year. With 18,300 MW, China is now only second to Germany, which has 36,000 MW in overall capacity. China has also exceeded its 12th FYP goal to install 15,000 MW worth of PV capacity by 2015. By 2020, China aims to install 50,000 MW of PV.

According to its lead negotiator, to meet the commitments laid out in its INDC, China will need to invest $6.6 trillion (¥41 trillion) in reconfiguring its energy mix and developing new energy sources. China’s INDC will also require the country to install as much renewable energy capacity as the entire U.S. electricity system currently offers, however, the above accelerating rates of capacity expansion and the huge amounts going towards investment in renewables indicates that China is serious about meeting the goals it sets for itself and has a strong track record of exceeding its goals prior to the deadlines set. 

FOSSIL FUELS

Coal dominates China’s energy mix, but its usage might peak sooner than previously thought. The country still derives over two-thirds of the energy it consumes and over 63 percent of its electricity from coal. In 2012, China consumed 50 percent of all the coal the world produced. However, Chinese coal use fell in absolute terms by 1-2 percent from 2013 to 2014 and by more than 2% from 2014-2015 for the first time in China’s modern history. Part of the decrease in coal use may not be permanent, jointly resulting from a slowdown in economic growth as well as government interventions to stabilize the price of domestic Chinese coal, but it still indicates that China’s targetpeak date is achievable. Moreover, China has now officially pledged to peak all emissions close to and likely in advance of the year 2030.

Source: Climate Nexus

Chinese leadership is especially motivated to decrease coal use because the country’s reliance on coal is a source of multiple problems. China is unable to source all of the coal it needs domestically. Long a net coal exporter, China became a net coal importer in 2009 for the first time in over two decades. China regards the dependence on other countries as anational security liability.

In addition, China’s coal use has led to dangerous levels of air pollution. Particulate concentrations (superfine dust in the air) routinely exceed the World Health Organization's (WHO) annual and 24 hour hazard values. China’s nearly 700 million urban dwellers are increasingly aware of the serious health consequences posed by such high levels of particulate matter and are starting to pressure the government to address the problem. The leadership has started taking actions like the $277 million investment and state plan announced in September 2013 intended to mitigate air pollution, as well as recent closures of several factories in the Beijing area.

The coal industry in China has been becoming less profitable and is showing signs of serious weakness. Domestic coal prices reached their lowest level since 2007in August 2014, following a steady decline. As much as 70 percent of China’s mines are reporting negative profits and an estimated half are delaying or cutting wage payouts to stay afloat. Many smaller mines have declared bankruptcy and many others have temporarily closed.

Mandated production caps at the largest 14 outlets have temporarily enabled the coal price to rebound, but the leadership has also taken note of the fundamental weaknesses in the industry. In March 2015, Shenhua Energy reported that both coal sales and production were down 10% strongly indicating that coal industry is faltering in China and shrinking quickly.                       

For all of these reasons, China aims to limit coal production to 4.4 billion short tons and to decrease the share of coal in its energy mix from 69 percent to 65 percent by 2015, as put forth in its 12th FYP. Indications suggest that China is on track to meet these targets, in fact the EIA has revised its estimates and reports that coal comprises 66% of China’s energy mix down from 69%. For example, stronger regulations on coal extraction from the 14 largest domestic mines are projected to cut output by 10 percent. As a result, an estimated 190 million fewer metric tons of coal were on the market by the end of 2014 than would have been the case under business as usual conditions.

Simultaneously, China has decreased the volume of coal it imports, with import volume now at its lowest since late 2012. In January 2015, China adopted import quality standards that would bar the entrance of coal with too much ash or sulfur content. It is estimated that the new restrictions and enacted import tariffs of 3-6% are preventing approximately 80 million tons of coal from entering the country each year that would otherwise have been eligible for entry. China also recently set coal consumption standards for power plants that will require 10 GW of inefficient coal plants to close and a further 350 GW of capacity to improve their operational efficiency. These actions will result in major decreases in the carbon intensity of China’s coal consumption.

China is pursuing natural gas as a “less bad” alternative to coal, but large-scale gas strategies may not be viable in the near future. Natural gas still produces carbon dioxide when burned, and natural gas leaks contain methane, another potent greenhouse gas. However, it avoids many of the negative health impacts of coal burning. The Chinese government anticipates boosting the share of natural gas as part of total energy consumption to around 8 percent by the end of 2015 and 10 percent by 2020.

China is now the world’s third largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has laid the groundwork for an even more sizable increase in LNG imports in the next few years. Chinese leadership has also shown interest in fracking, but China’s shale natural gas reserves will be challenging to extract; as a result, the country has adjusted its expected yield downward by half. These data suggest that China cannot peg its energy hopes on shale gas extraction.

Compounding the limitations of shale gas hydrofracking is the overlap of gas deposits with regions of acute water stress. The collision of China’s energy needs with its water needs is a looming issue that will force trade-offs. Water stress and water allocation is becoming a growing driver of unrest in China that is not adequately addressed or understood. 

STRATEGIES TO REDUCE EMISSIONS

Energy efficiency is a major source of emissions reductions in China. Because efficiencies are gained at the local level, each province and provincial-level city is required to help meet the efficiency goal of the current five-year plan. Governors and mayors are held accountable to their targets, and experts from Beijing conduct annual site visits of facilities in each province to assess their progress.

To help meet the 12th FYP efficiency goal, the Chinese government has two programs in place to engage industrial and transportation enterprises. First, the 10 Key Projects Program requires selected enterprises to undergo comprehensive energy audits and offers financial rewards based on actual energy saved. The audits follow detailed government monitoring guidelines and must be independently validated. Second, the Top 10,000 Program requires efficiency improvements from nearly 17,000 top-emitting industrial and transportation enterprises as well as public buildings with the aim of collectively saving 250 metric tons of carbon equivalent (Mtce) by 2015. The companies involved represent two thirds of China’s total energy consumption and targeted savings represent 37 percent of China’s total energy-saving target.

The 10 Key Projects Program and Top 10,000 Program were continued and expanded from the 11th FYP, and an analysis of the programs during the 2006–2010 period indicates that the energy intensity of major industries decreased significantly. While industrial energy consumption in China is increasing, it has been offset considerably by China’s energy-efficiency improvements. Finally, twelve provinces – accounting for roughly 44% of coal consumption – have pledged to cut their coal use.

Carbon trading is currently in the pilot stage in China, but could usher in a new era for Chinese climate policy. By introducing plans for seven subnational cap-and-trade pilot programs, the 12th FYP began a new era for China. The subnational programs aim to inform the development of a future national cap-and-trade market, which China plans to roll out in 2016. The stakes are high because a successful national program in China could trigger more widespread adoption—and possible linkage—of national and subnational carbon markets across the globe.

In 2013, five out of the seven pilots went live. Together, China’s pilot programs already constitute the second largest carbon market after the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), according to a World Bank analysis. China has recently announced plans to set up markets in approximately five additional sites, expand two existing city pilot programs into province-wide programs, and extend the Schenzhen’s pilot market into the transportation sector, marking the first attempt to cover transportation emissions through market mechanisms in China. The anticipated national carbon market that China has signaled it could roll out in 2016 would regulate 40 percent of the country’s economy, making it by far the largest in the world. If fully implemented, it would cover roughly 3-4 billion tons of CO2 up to 2020 and be worth up to $65 billion.

A 2014 report examines the three-longest running pilot programs likely to serve as models for the national program: Guangdong, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. According to the report, two of the three pilots, Shanghai and Shenzhen, met their compliance deadline of June 30, 2014, with Shanghai achieving 100 percent compliance and only four out of 635 industrial firms in Shenzhen failing to comply on schedule. Guangdong postponed the first compliance deadline by about a month, with only two out of 184 firms failing to comply by the later deadline.

Guangdong has recently reported that it is on track to allocate a total of 408 million carbon permits this year. Strong rates of compliance suggest that the carbon markets have effectively been put in place, despite concerns that China may not have adequate technical and administrative capacity to track their emissions. In fact, Hubei province was the first province to release detailed data on its carbon accounting and reported that emissions fell by 3.2 percent in 2014.

China is capping carbon from major sectors. Steel and cement are two major polluting industries, and China has recently announced a goal to cap CO2 emissions from these two sectors at 2015 levels. Chinese steel and cement producers currently make up about one-fifth of the country’s total carbon emissions. Combined with other efforts to control coal consumption, capping carbon dioxide emissions from these two industries would enable the country to peak total emissions prior to 2030.

The idea of sustainable urban development is gaining traction. China’s rapid economic growth has gone hand-in-hand with urbanization. In 2013, 53 percent of Chinese citizensor 719 million peoplelived in urban areas, compared to just 22 percent 30 years earlier. By 2050, it is projected that 1.1 billion people will live in urban areas, or 68.6 percent of China’s estimated population. To meet the needs of its people while minimizing environmental costs, China is rapidly building its modern energy, transport, and public service infrastructure. 

Complementing the top-down approach of the 12th FYP, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced a National Pilot Program on Low-Carbon Provinces and Cities in July 2010. The plan directed five provinces and eight cities to prepare low-carbon development strategies, formulate supporting policies to strengthen low-carbon development, and establish systems for collecting and managing GHG emissions data. The low carbon cities program has scaled rapidly, expanding nearly 480 percent from the five original sites to a total of 29 in the four short years since the program began.

At an unprecedented joint US-China municipal summit on building low carbon cities, Beijing and 10 other Chinese cities formed an Alliance for Peaking Pioneer Cities (APPC) and pledged to peak their greenhouse gas emissions in advance of 2030, the target year set for peaking China’s national emissions, with some pledging to peak as early as 2020. Both Beijing and Guangzhou have committed to peak their carbon dioxide emissions by the end of or around 2020 – ten years earlier than the national target. In aggregate, the Chinese cities and provinces that are making these accelerated peaking commitments represent 1.2 gigatons of annual CO2 emissions, equivalent to about 25% of the total urban emissions in China, and equal in size to the total current C02 emissions of the entire countries of Japan or Brazil.


The Path Forward

The slate of domestic energy and environmental policies and actions explored in this backgrounder in conjunction with more nuanced changes too detailed to be captured in this overview of the energy situation in China, have positioned the country well to peak first its coal and then its overall greenhouse emissions in the near future. In an exhaustive report published in June 2015, entitled China’s New Normal: Structural Change, Better Growth and Peak Emissions, the Grantham Institute projected that China’s coal use has either already peaked or if not yet peaked has reached a “structural maximum and plateaued.” The report’s larger finding, however, is that China’s total emissions are on track to peak within the next fifteen years and are extremely likely to peak much earlier than the 2030 target year China identified in its INDC to the United Nations. The Grantham Institute instead projects that overall emissions are much more likely to peak by 2025 and could feasibly peak in less than ten years. The report concludes that “China’s international commitment to peak emissions ‘around 2030’ should be seen as a conservative upper limit from a government that prefers to under-promise and over-deliver.”

China’s pattern of under-promising and over-delivering is having global results. The IEA identified China’s domestic energy transformation as a critical contributing factor to the slowdown and actual stalling of global carbon emissions levels in 2014 that could occur while the worldwide economy continued to grow. In other words, China’s domestic transformation is massive enough to produce a global decoupling of worldwide economic growth from growth in global carbon emissions, breaking a pattern that had held for the last 40 years.

Furthermore, in an announcement dated September 11 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made clear at the opening ceremony at the Summer Davos Forum that the transformation underway in China is not hampering the health of China’s domestic economy. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), there was a drop of major polluting gases (source in Chinese) in the first six months of the 2015. During those same six months, Chinese authorities announced they had created over 9.7 million new jobs with a significant portion of them in low carbon sectors.  In the same announcement Premier Li Keqiang explained that energy consumption per unit of GDP in China had also dropped by 4.2 per cent year on year, and that the carbon intensity of energy produced has dropped by 5% over the course of 2015. Together this data signals that China’s deepening structural readjustments are enabling strong, cleaner growth that China will further solidify in its next five-year plan, which it will likely roll out in March of 2016