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Figures about China’s efforts to ‘green’ the economy

Updated: Sep 27,2015 2:27 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has been striving to restructure its industries and steer the economy onto a sustainable path, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy structure and slashing pollutant industrial capacity.

The following are facts and figures about how China has “greened” its economy, especially during the past four years — the major period of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). Policymakers will convene in October to review the results, and map out the next five years.

Energy consumption

China’s total energy consumption in 2014 increased 2.2 percent from 2013, markedly down from a 7-percent growth rate in 2010 from 2009, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Coal consumption dropped 2.9 percent in 2014, the first drop in nearly two decades. Coal accounted for 66 percent of total energy consumption, down from around 70 percent in 2010.

Clean energy, including hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and natural gas, accounted for 16.9 percent of energy consumption by 2014.

China’s energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) has dropped 13.4 percent by 2014 from the 2010 level, according to a calculation by Xinhua based on official statistics.

Outdated production capacity

Outdated industrial capacity is a cause of economic slowdown, a major source of pollution and a barrier for sustainable development. China has been eliminating excessive production since 2011.

The government cleared up excessive capacity in 19 industries, including steel smelting, coke, cement and glass, and had completed its targets by 2014, ahead of schedule.

From 2011 to 2014, China eliminated over 77 million tonnes of outdated steel smelting capacity, removed nearly 368 million tonnes of cement capacity and nearly 155 million weight boxes of glass capacity, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed.

Carbon emissions

The world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, China has made tremendous efforts to cut emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). In 2014, carbon emissions per unit of GDP was 33.8 percent lower than the 2005 level.

China aims to hit the CO2 emissions peak by around 2030 and slash CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60 percent to 65 percent from the 2005 level, according to its action plan submitted to the United Nations in June.

China launched carbon-trading pilots in seven regions including Beijing and Shanghai in 2011. Nearly 2,000 companies have made deals worth 850 million yuan ($130 million), equivalent to 25 million tonnes of CO2.


China now has 208 million hectares of forest, covering 21.63 percent of the country, data from the State Forestry Administration (SFA) showed. This is 1.27 percentage points higher than five years ago. This equals an area bigger than Mexico.

From 2011 to 2014, China added 24.27 million hectares of forest area.

The SFA said China will continue to intensify forestation and improve the forest coverage rate to 23 percent by 2020.