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China in green push

News, 02 March 2016

BEIJING: Ten Chinese ministries have issued joint guidelines on "green and healthy" consumption as the government moves to tackle the country's poor environmental record.

While the document lacked detail, the direction of travel was clear as it announced an intention to introduce policies to steer people away from heavily polluting lifestyles and industries, and to raise awareness of a healthy lifestyle, environmental protection, and energy conservation.

It also stated that the government would look to boost development of green industries and to introduce new incentives to encourage a shift to a "green and healthy" consumption mode by 2020, China Daily reported.

There were a few areas where the guidelines were more specific. "New energy vehicles shall account for more than 30% of new vehicles bought by public institutions in 2016, and by 2020, new energy vehicles will be widely used nationwide," the document said.

Domestic energy consumption was also a target, with energy-efficient appliances expected to account for at least 50% of the market by 2020.

The publication of these guidelines comes a few days after official figures highlighted the progress China is making on its commitment to climate change targets, as coal consumption fell for the second year in a row – down 3.7% in 2015 on top of the previous year's 2.9% decrease.

Coal still accounted for 64% of total energy consumption; "clean" energy consumption, such as hydropower, wind power, nuclear power and natural gas, made up just 17.9%, although renewable capacity has been growing rapidly, according to Business Green.

The government has also this week indicated that it plans to cut around 1.8m jobs in the coal and steel industries, steps which will further reduce carbon emissions.

Further detail may emerge from the upcoming session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, which opens at the weekend and which will debate and ratify China's 13th Five-Year Plan.

Data sourced from China Daily, Business Green, Shanghai daily; additional content by Warc staff