By Wu Qing King & Wood Mallesons’ Commercial & Regulatory group

金杜律师事务所作为Thomson Reuters环境法板块中国地区唯一合作律所,2016、2017、2018连续三年为其提供 “Environmental law and practice in China: overview”(下称“Q&A Guide”)。Q&A  Guide是一份专门针对中国环境法律的指引,提供了对中国环境法律的高度概览,并且介绍了主要的环境实务问题,包括大气和水污染物排放,环境影响评价,固体废物和危险废物,土壤污染,以及交易中的环境问题等。金杜律师事务所每年都会结合最新出台的环境法律及环境监管趋势等内容,对Q&A Guide作出更新。目前2017/2018年度的Q&A Guide已更新,将以专题形式定期在金杜说法平台进行推送,旨在为企业提供对中国环境法律体系及实务的全方位指引。

1. Are there any national targets or legal requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy (such as wind power) and/or increasing energy efficiency (for example in buildings and appliances)? Is there a national strategy on climate change, renewable energy and/or energy efficiency?

National targets

On 30 June 2015, the government issued the Enhanced Action on Climate Change – China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, determining the national targets by 2030 as follows:

  • To achieve the peak of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to achieve the peak early.
  • To lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60% to 65% compared to 2005 levels.
  • To increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20%.
  • To increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic metres compared to 2005 levels.

Legal requirements

The legal requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency are mainly contained in the:

  • Law on Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution.
  • Renewable Energy Law.
  • Energy Conservation Law.
  • Promoting Clean Production Law.
  • Promotion of Sustainable Economy Law.
  • Electric Power Law.

Provisional Measures for the Administration of Trading of Carbon Emission Permits.

Other laws and regulations.

The main requirements address co-ordinated control of greenhouse gases, as well as national encouragement and support for power generation using renewable energy resources and clean energy. The main requirements also provide that:

  • Construction companies of fixed asset investment projects must construct, produce and use the project within the compulsory energy conservation standards.
  • Production entities must not exceed the per-product energy consumption limitation standard.

Currently, several laws and regulations are being drafted, such as:

  • Regulations on the Administration of National Carbon Emissions Trading.
  • Measures on the Administration of a Carbon Quota on New Energy Vehicles.
  • Actions Addressing Climate Change Act.

National strategy

China has national strategies addressing climate change in Enhanced Actions on Climate Change: China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. These are:

  • To strengthen the establishment of legal systems addressing climate change.
  • To integrate the climate change-related objectives into the national economic and social development plans.
  • To formulate China’s long-term strategy and roadmap for low carbon development.
  • To implement the National Program on Climate Change (2014 to 2020) and provincial climate programmes.

2. Is your jurisdiction party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and/or the Paris Agreement? How are the requirements under those international agreements implemented or being implemented?

Party to UNFCCC/Kyoto Protocol

China is a party to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

Emissions targets

As a developing country, China performs obligations applied to developing countries in the UNFCCC and does not undertake legally binding obligations to restrict or limit carbon emissions.

However, China has Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives (QELROs):

  • In 2006, China announced that energy intensity would decrease 20% by 2010 compared to 2005 levels.
  • In 2009 and 2015, China announced that carbon emissions per unit of GDP would decrease by 40% to 45% by 2020, and by 60% to 65% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.


In 2014, carbon emissions per unit of GDP decreased 33.8% compared to the level in 2005. China completed the Initial National Communication on Climate Change of the People’s Republic of China and the Second National Communication on Climate Change of the People’s Republic of China.

China is drafting “Implementing Plans” on issues such as transparency, global inventory and other issues involved in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

National proposals

In 2015, China submitted the Enhanced Actions on Climate Change: China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to UNFCCC Secretariat.

3. What, if any, emissions/carbon trading schemes operate?

Answer Body

A pilot programme for carbon emissions trading has been launched in seven provinces and cities since 2011. On 11 December 2014, the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) issued the Interim Regulations on Administration of Carbon Emission Trading, which specifically provides for carbon emissions trading.

In the pilot areas, the main products of carbon emissions trading are emission quotas and Chinese Certified Emissions Reductions (CCER). The trading parties are the key emission entities, agencies and individuals under the trading rules. The trading agencies are those qualified by the NDRC.

Besides the pilot programmes, the draft Regulations of the Administration of National Carbon Emission Trading has been submitted to the State Council and the national united carbon emissions trading market is being formulated.