Based on a number of sector mitigation policies for domestic systems, this paper demonstrates how measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) mechanisms are applied at the sector level in China. At the same time, these mitigation policies and methods are diverse in terms of the MRV approach and their mitigation effects. These characters should be regulated as part of case foundation in the international construction of MRV.
Measurable ; Reportable ; verifiable mechanism ; national appropriate mitigation actions
The Bali Action Plan (BAP) [ UN , 2007 ], adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2007, calls for “measurable, reportable and verifiable” (MRV) policies and measures to mitigate global warming in developing countries. These “national appropriate mitigation actions” (NAMAs) are to be supported by developed countries in a MRV manner through financing, technology and capacity building support. This phrase emphasizes that the developing countries are required to implement mitigation actions not only the commitment and are also required to consider the best suitable individual countries’ circumstances including the development stage and institution conditions.
The BAP secures that the developing countries take efforts and actions to reduce the emissions and achieve a low carbon development. It is worth looking for current examples of developing countries’ programs that include and frame MRV policies or methods. These can provide meaningful cases and a basis for international MRV design and discussions. The Chinese government has made active efforts to control growth in energy consumption and dependence on fossil fuels. These efforts are performed in implemented sector policies. Detailed performances and results should be reported and verified at the sector level. The reporting of emission reduction actions in domestic sectors and their verification mechanisms will provide a rich set of examples for mitigation actions. This paper describes a series of emission reduction polices and measures in the domestic sector. It will prove that the emission reduction policies and measures have been verified for the domestic system and provide comprehensive information for policy makers. It also can provide an overview of related actions and results, as well as providing international cases on mechanisms.
Most of the mitigation policies and measures in the agriculture sector are implemented through subsidies. For example, in 2002 the Chinese government began demonstration projects on tillage conservation① . Since 2007, the central government has invested 30 million RMB for the promotion of tillage conservation, with the aim of extending the area under tillage conservation to 60 million hm2 until the end of 2010② . Targets for renewable energy in rural areas are identified in the 11th Five-Year Plan. By the end of 2008, there were over 30.5 million rural households using household biogas digesters in China, saving 17 million tons of coal equivalent (tce) annually, which equates to an emissions reduction of 49 million tons of CO2 equivalent. In China, 26,600 biogas digesters on animal farms have been constructed, 42.86 million m2 of solar water heating arrays in rural areas, 14.68 million m2 of solar heating arrays for houses, 1.12 million solar stoves and more than 200,000 small wind power generators have been installed. Demonstration projects for the gasification and solidification of straw have also been established in China. Further, firewood and coal-saving stoves in 151 million households and energy-saving stoves in 34.71 million households have been installed.
Chinese forestry sector also proposed the targets and actions. State Forestry Administration has established three targets in the forestry action plan in responses to climate change. The goal is set to reach 20% forest cover of total land cover in 2010, 23% in 2020, and 26% in 2050. The forest stock volume is targeted to reach 13.2 billion m3 . At present, China has an area of 54 million hm2 with man-made forests, with its stock volume reaching 1.5 billion m3 . The country’s forest coverage has increased from 12% in the early 1980s to the level of 18.2% in 2007. In 2009, the total area of the green belt and park areas in urban areas in China reached 1.99 million hm2③ with 37.4%④ green coverage. The government estimated that from 1980 to 2005, a total accumulated net sequestration of 3.06 billion t CO2 was achieved by afforestation, 1.62 billion t CO2 by forest management, and 43 million t CO2 [ SCPRC, 2008 , SCPRC, 2009 and SCPRC, 2009 ] from deforestation were avoided. The related MRV metric and mechanism elements in the agriculture and forestry sectors are summarized in the Table 1 .
|Method||Scope||Metric||Reporting mechanism||Verification mechanism||Time frame|
|Low-till and no-till agriculture||Potentially national in agricultural sector, currently at the pilot stage||Additional land (in hectares) put into low-till and no-till regimes||Through agricultural bureaus to the central ministry||Verified at the local level through local bureau of National Bureau of Statistics (NBSC)|
|Biogas development||Focus on specific program areas||Number of digesters added, plus information on amount of conventional fuel replaced||Through agricultural bureaus to the central ministry||Aggregated data at national level; local bureau of NBSC verifies local data||Annual reports|
|Reforestation||National||Percent of total land forested||State Forestry Administration||Compilation of local reports, verified with satellite data||Annual reports|
The industrial sector accounts for about 70% of China’s total energy consumption. Energy conservation in key industrial sectors is primarily implemented through energy conservation projects based on agreements negotiated between enterprises and the government. The Top Ten Energy Conservation Projects are the key measures to ensure that the target of 20% energy intensity reduction is met⑤ . Six of these projects systems in agriculture and forestry sectors are in the industrial sector: coal-fired industrial boiler (kiln) retrofit project, district cogeneration project, residual heat and pressure utilization project, petroleum saving and substituting project, motor system energy saving project, and energy system optimization project [ NDRC, 2009 ]. Policies and methods to support these key projects include regulations and standards, a preferential tax regime, subsidies and low-interest loans.
Under China’s Thousand-Enterprise Program, specific energy saving targets are negotiated between the government and major energy-consuming enterprises, with commitments on time schedules to achieve these targets. The major goals of the Thousand-Enterprise Program are to significantly improve energy efficiency, reduce unit energy consumption for all major products, employ either an international best practice or sector best practice benchmark, improve the energy efficiency of each sector and achieve energy savings of approximately 100 million tce during the 11th Five-Year Plan period [ NDRC, 2006 ]. In June 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published the assessment results of the Thousand-Enterprise Program in the former four years of the 11th Five-Year Plan. This report showed that key enterprises achieved their energy conservation target by 132%, indicating an estimated energy conservation equivalent of about 132.2 million tce [ NDRC, 2010 ].
According to the program’s action plan, the enterprises involved should establish an energy conservation department and a reporting system for internal energy utilization. The enterprises must also conduct an energy audit and submit the audit report to local and central governments for assessment and verification. The enterprises must report their achievements from the previous year to the local government by January of each year, and the provincial government must verify these achievements and report to the central government before March. The enterprises must also report their quarterly fuel consumption to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC) via a web-based reporting system. Enterprise data are considered confidential and provided only to NDRC. The local government is responsible for verifying the achievement of energy conservation targets through spot checks and energy audits by third parties.
Closing small thermal power plants is part of the national energy saving and pollution reduction effort to meet the national target of 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2010. This program is officially called “replacing small units with large ones program”, and inhibits the mission to build larger, more efficient plants. In order to promote the robust development of China’s power industry, NDRC has required the closure of small-scale thermal power units with high energy consumption and poor pollution control, and delegated this task to provincial governments, the power sectors, and grid companies. This program intends to close most of the existing small units, which currently produce approximately 114 GW of power. It is further expected to decommission about 50% of inefficient small units by 2010. In 2007, China shut down 553 small thermal power generators, with a total capacity of 14.38 GW [ SERC, 2009 ]. Large thermal power generators exceeding 50 MW will be used to replace the lost capacity.
Implementation of this program is headed by NDRC at the national level and is supported by other government agencies, such as the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) of China and the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) of China. At the local level, the leading group is composed of the local development and reform commission (DRC), other government agencies, and local utility companies. Local governments/companies are in charge of implementing the program in their areas and will be held accountable by higher level governments/companies for failure to accomplish the mission assigned. Provincial governments and major electricity companies were required to submit detailed implementation plans to NDRC by the end of March 2007 covering post-decommissioning issues such as reemployment and financial compensation. The total capacity of small thermal power plants shut down is reported to NDRC by local governments.
NDRC or a relevant organization commissioned by NDRC verifies report figures. Supervisory organizations, such as the electricity regulatory commission, are assigned by the central government to conduct verification and registration of each inefficient small size unit decommissioned. A list of decommissioned units is published online for public monitoring to ensure that these units are truly and permanently decommissioned.
The Energy Conservation Power Generation Dispatch (ECPGD) Program began in December 2007 with pilot projects in the provinces of Guizhou, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Henan, and Guangdong. Detailed implementation measures and working plans are still under development based on these pilot projects.
The ECPGD Program [SCPRC, 2007] is complementary to the replacing small units with large ones program and focuses on prioritizing power generation from existing renewable, nuclear, efficient, and clean coal power plants over other more carbon-intensive power plants. It is a major reform to the current pattern of power generation dispatch in China. The ECPGD program intended to create a market mechanism by substituting the current even load power generation scheduling rule with an energy efficiency-based rule that favors low-carbon energy. Local DRC organizes the collection and management of load forecasting and load management, and provides this information to industry, grid companies, and power generation companies. The priority list for load management and dispatch is based on the information collected at individual plants and on load forecasts. There is no official estimate for energy-saving and emissions reduction resulting from the implementation of ECPGD Program, but it is likely to make the greatest contribution to energy conservation in the electricity sector. There are many similar programs within the industry sector. The MRV metric and mechanisms for the industry sector are summarized in Table 2 .
|Method||Scope||Metric||Reporting mechanism||Verification mechanism||Time frame|
|The Thousand-Enterprise Program||Targeted at 1,000 largest enterprises at national level||Energy intensity per unit output||From enterprise to local DRC and NDRC||NDRC verification teams||Five-year program with annual targets; progress reports twice a year|
|Individual industrial sector targets||Set by sector||Energy Intensity per unit physical output or value added||Industrial association to NBS/NDRC||Aggregated data from individual companies||Annual and 5-year reporting|
|Replacing small units with large ones program||National, specified closures in electricity and other sectors||GW capacity for power, tons of production capacity in industry||Provincial government and related enterprises reporting to NDRC||Energy Bureau of NDRC conducts on-sit verificatione||5-year targets, annual progress reports|
|Energy Conservation Power Generation Dispatch||Currently piloted in five provinces, but planned to be national within the electric power system||Currently a compliance metric, but no energy metric||Power plant performance determined by NDRC at local levels, which then sets the dispatch priority||Local technical bureaus verify efficiency and performance|
|Coal-fired industrial boiler (kiln) retrofit projects District cogeneration projects||Coal-fired industrial boilers nation-wide District heating, especially in northern China||Average efficiency and energy saving of industrial coal-fired boilers Share of cogeneration in district heating and cogeneration capacity||Energy saving reported by enterprises to government Energy saving reported by enterprises to government||Energy saving projects verified by third parties Energy saving projects verified by third parties||2010 goal 2010 goal|
|Residual heat and pressure utilization projects||Iron and steel, construction material and other industries with saving potential||Energy saving from residual heat and pressure utilization||Energy saving reported by enterprises to government||Energy saving projects verified by the third parties||2010 goal|
|Petroleum saving and substituting projects||Metal, construction material and other industries with saving potential||Saved and substituted quantity of petroleum||Energy saving reported by enterprises to government||Energy saving projects verified by third parties||2010 goal|
|Motor system energy saving projects||Major electricity consuming sectors||Motor efficiency improvement and electricity saving||Energy saving reported by enterprises to government||Energy saving projects verified by third parties||2010 goal|
|Energy system optimization projects||Refinery, chemical, iron, and steel industries||Energy improvement per unit product and quantity of energy saving||Energy saving reported by enterprises to government||Energy saving projects verified by third parties||2010 goal|
Energy-saving in buildings requires efficient use of energy during the construction and operation of buildings, as well as efficient use of heating, air conditioning, lighting, electrical equipment, and hot water supply. About 2 billion m2 of new buildings are constructed every year in China. Currently, buildings account for almost 28% of China’s total energy consumption — up from just 10% in 1978. This share could rise to 35%–40% with living standards improved and workplaces developed gradually. Under such a scenario, the residential sector could surpass other energy-intensive sectors, such as industry and transportation, to become the nation’s largest energy-consuming sector. The mitigation policies and measures in the residential sector mainly consist of regulations and standards for building design and market mechanisms, such as promoting the installation of heating meters in old buildings, and subsidies for energy-saving appliances in buildings.
There are three dimensions in the building energy conservation project: 1) energy conservation in new buildings; 2) energy-saving renovation in existing buildings; 3) renewable energy use in buildings. Both public buildings and residential buildings have corresponding energy saving design standards. Policies on design standards, assessment and methodologies for examination have been implemented so as to: strengthen the operation and management of energy-consuming equipment for buildings; optimize the thermal engineering performance of the surrounding structures of buildings; improve the work efficiency of heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, water supply, drainage and pump systems; promote the use of renewable energy; and reduce energy consumption of buildings while guaranteeing their essential functions and ensuring sufficient indoor heating.
For residential buildings, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China (MOHURD) established the “energy consumption statistical reporting mechanism of residential buildings” in 2007⑥ to provide a comprehensive picture of residential energy consumption. This mechanism has been implemented in 23 cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Harbin, and will be extended throughout the country. Information in this reporting system is organized in three different accounting tables: a basic information table, an energy consumption table, and a centralized heating supply table. Provincial governments directly collect this data, and report these tables to the provincial housing department, which submits the integrated tables to MOHURD. Ultimately, the construction administrative department of the State Council receives the information collected by the reporting mechanism and uses it to supervise residential energy conservation at the national level.
The energy efficiency labeling system was established in 2004⑦ with the goal of providing energy saving information to consumers. The aim of this measure is to help consumers to save energy, encourage manufacturers to improve the energy efficiency of their products, and encourage distributors to select products with high energy efficiency. The energy efficiency label includes: 1) product specifications and type; 2) energy efficiency grade; 3) estimated energy consumption of the product; 4) number of the applicable national energy efficiency standard. There are two kinds of labels in the energy efficiency labeling system. One is the energy conservation certification, and the other is the China energy label. The energy conservation certification is awarded to equipment that meets specific energy efficiency standards or technology criteria. There is no information about the product’s energy efficiency on the label. In contrast, the China energy label is an information label that provides consumers with information about the product’s energy efficiency. General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China and NDRC must, in accordance with their respective duties, inspect the products listed in the “catalogue” and verify the information on energy efficiency labels. The related metric and mechanisms are summarized in Table 3 .
|Method||Scope||Metric||Reporting mechanism||Verification mechanism||Time frame|
|Energy efficiency in buildings||National||Energy consumption standards for buildings||Building contractors report to local government and building owner in project acceptance report||Local quality supervision institution verifies|
|Efficiency labeling||Multiple products||Energy use during product operation||All products in a given product category must be tested for energy efficiency and labeled accordingly, with test results reported to the National Institute of Standardization||Test results verified by Energy Labeling Management Center under National Institute of Standardization||The category for energy labeling will be renewed accordingly|
The transportation sector has recently become one of the primary energy consumers in China. It accounted for 7.5% of total energy consumption in 2006 and is projected to increase to meet the growing demand. The transportation sector is also responsible for a significant contribution to China’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To promote energy efficiency in the transportation sector, national and local governments are implementing a wide range of policies and measures including industrial strategies and supporting initiatives. The government also implements economic policies conducive to energy conservation such as a policy of tax reduction for the production and consumption of compact cars. In 2009, the government began collecting a fuel tax on petrol consumption, which was the first energy tax to be collected in China. Mandatory entry permits for clean energy vehicles have also been introduced to improve the investment environment, regulate the vehicle market, and encourage manufacturers to invest in research and development. Some voluntary actions, such as the “drive one day less a month” program have been implemented to improve public awareness of climate change⑧ .
Vehicle fuel economy standards have proven to be one of the most effective tools for controlling oil demand and GHG emissions from the transportation sector in many countries around the world. In 2000, China established its first national fuel efficiency standard, which was designed to reduce oil consumption and to encourage foreign automakers to introduce more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies into the Chinese market. The first national standard for vehicle fuel efficiency was enacted in July 2005. The new standard was implemented in two stages. Stage 1, which aimed to improve fuel efficiency by 10%, took effect on July 1, 2005. Stage 2 took effect on January 1 2008, with the goal of improving fuel efficiency by an additional 10%. While the second stage target is lower than the global average vehicle efficiency level of fuel consumption, the third state assessment method and limitation should be studied. It is estimated that the new limitation should be more ambitious.
A standard has been developed to set different fuel efficiency levels for different types of vehicles to be sold in China. The vehicle companies are asked to provide detailed information for fuel efficiency verification reports⑨ . Every vehicle sold must be tested to confirm that its fuel consumption meets specifications for that model. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China is responsible for implementing and monitoring the fuel efficiency standard. At the national level, responsibility for planning and checking is assigned to the State Council Standardization Administration Department and other State Council departments. At provincial level, this responsibility is assigned to provincial or autonomous regional or municipal standardization administration departments.
Compared with other long-distance transportation modes, such as highway and aviation systems, the railway system is less carbon-intensive in terms of emissions per person kilometers. In the 11th Five-Year Plan of railway construction, the Chinese government allocated about 1.25 trillion RMB to expand its railway system, targeting an increase from 78,000 km in 2007 to 85,000 km in 2010 and to 100,000 km in 2020. In December 2008, the State Council announced an economic stimulus package with a 2 trillion RMB investment plan. As a result of increased investment, the country’s railway network is expected to expand further to 100,000 km in 2010 and 120,000 km in 2020, in 2009 it achieved 85,500 km⑩ . The Ministry of Railways of China is also paying great attention to the development of a high-speed railway system that can compete with direct flights in the long distance transportation market. China Railway High-speed (CRH) has been utilized in several intercity rail system expansions in China. The goal is to extend the high-speed system to a length of 12,000 km with an average speed above 200 km h–1 .
In 2005, the State Council issued a decree to give priority to urban public transport. This decree requires local governments to improve public transportation infrastructure, optimize operations, guarantee priority use of roads for public transportation, and implement reforms to further promote public transportation. Compared with other public transport modes, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is one of the more attractive solutions for developing countries as it has a low investment requirement (the cost varied from 1/10 to 1/5 of unit subway investment) and lower energy use and carbon emissions. At least 10 Chinese cities are actively planning or expanding BRT systems with varying approaches. Compared with railway planning, urban transportation planning is more decentralized within local authorities. Most of the major Chinese cities have an urban transportation plan for the 11th Five-Year period. For example, the municipal government of Beijing published its urban transportation plan in 2010. The major goal is to increase the share of public transportation to 40% from 28% by the end of 2010, in the first half year 2010, it achieved 39.3%. The metric in the transportation sector are summarized in Table 4 .
|Method||Scope||Metric||Reporting mechanism||Verification mechanism||Time frame|
|Vehicle efficiency standards||National, vehicle sector||km L—1||Vehicle manufacturers to NDRC||Both premanufacture and post-manufacture||Based on introduction of new models|
|Fuel tax||National vehicle sector||Absolute increase in fuel prices||Set by central tax authorities, who also report revenues||Tax authority audits of local fuel tax revenues|
|Mass transit development||Local authorities||Share of public transit in overall transportation system, kilometer for BRT, metro and other public transit systems||Local municipal government||Annual report to people’s congress at local city level|
|Intercity rail||National railway sector||New mileage and investment in new railway infrastructure||Ministry of Railways|
(1) Chinese government has perfect emission reduction policies in the sector levels, the policies identified are development-focused and are diverse in terms of type and scope. NAMAs are a set of policy tools, including diversified policies and measures, ranging from quantified targets to institutional reform and research and development plans. The initial review of these NAMAs undertaken by the Chinese government, combined with other research on the role of NAMAs in a post-2012 international climate mechanism, provides valuable insights into the design of MRV systems [ Fransen et al., 2009 ].
(2) There are numerous mitigation policies in the sectors of energy, agriculture, urban planning, transportation, and industry. Due to the diversity of development goals and different needs of the sectors, the mitigation policies and measures are also diverse in terms of GHG impacts. The GHG benefits are quantifiable in terms of different metrics: GHG reduction, energy saving, area of reforestation, research and development funding, and more. China currently employs a diverse set of metrics with obvious advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage of using a diverse set of metrics is that the policies not only concentrate on the emission reductions themselves but also on the implementing actions. A major disadvantage is that the exact amount of emission reduction is difficult to calculation due to the variation and barriers in the multiple methodologies.
(3) Most of the mitigation actions reviewed in this paper are unilateral actions supported through domestic resources without international provisions in terms of financial and technological support. Some reporting and verification processes are decentralized and not integrated at the national level while others have been aggregated at different levels. It is necessary to further improve reporting and verification processes by integrating them at the national level to coordinate mitigation actions in different sectors.
(4) China has adopted serious mitigation efforts to control GHG emissions and to contribute to global efforts to deal with climate change. Some of these mitigation policies and measures have been reported and verified through domestic processes. These mitigation efforts should be recognized by the international community, be entered into UNFCCC registry, and supported by a process of MRV under post-2012 climate mechanism. This could enhance the range and scale of actions through the provision of financial and technological support, and capacity-building by developed countries.
The authors would like to thank WRI to support this research and HILARY MCMAHON, DEBORAH SELIGSOHN and Bob BRADLEY constructive comments. The authors also thank the supports from Ministry of Science and Technology 11th Technology Supporting Key Project 2007BAC03A03-04 and Ministry of Science and Technology project 2010CB955302.
Received: 21 December 2010
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