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WATCH: China announces ban on industrial projects within key zones, to combat climate change

An aerial view of buildings located in the downtown Harbin, China. The ban aims to lower pollution and carbon emissions from heavy industry. Picture: fachaoshi Reuters

An aerial view of buildings located in the downtown Harbin, China. The ban aims to lower pollution and carbon emissions from heavy industry. Picture: fachaoshi Reuters

Published Jun 22, 2022

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China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced last Friday that it plans to introduce a complete ban on new steel, coking, oil refining, cement, and glass projects in key industrial zones, to combat climate change. The ban aims to lower pollution and carbon emissions from heavy industry.

The plan aims to establish a zoning system to reduce carbon emissions. The zones classify urban areas, main agricultural production areas, and key ecological function areas. It is “strictly forbidden” to increase the production capacity of steel, coking, oil refining, electrolytic aluminium, cement, and flat glass (excluding photovoltaic glass) in the key areas.

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Photovoltaic glass (PV Glass) is a technology that enables the conversion of light into electricity. To do so, the glass incorporates transparent semiconductor-based photovoltaic cells, which are also known as solar cells. The cells are sandwiched between two sheets of glass. The ban will exclude PV glass, as it is a key component in solar panels.

According to Jurist.org: “The new regulations will also promote the incorporation of coordinated control of greenhouse gas emissions into laws and regulations related to the ecological environment.

“A compliance system to enforce the new policy intends to “crackdown” on false carbon emissions data and strengthen daily supervision.”

The government encourages companies with high emissions to disclose environmental information, in compliance with Chinese laws. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration for Market Regulation, and the National Energy Administration are responsible for this implementation.

A report by the Rhodium Group, published in 2021, found that China emits more greenhouse gases than the entire developed world combined. The research showed that China emitted 27% of the world's greenhouse gases in 2019.

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The United States came in at second place, emitting 11% with India placing third, with 6.6% of emissions, the think tank said.

Scientists warn that, without considerable and significant action being taken by these countries to reduce their emissions, it will be difficult to avert dangerous climate change scenarios.

China has the world's largest population, currently at a staggering 1.4 billion people. This means that its per-person emissions are still far behind the US, but the research said those per-person emissions have increased as well, tripling over the last two decades.

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