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A technician checks power supply lines at a clean energy heating station designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Weihai, east China's Shandong province, Nov. 12, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Carbon neutrality has become a buzzword in China at the just opened fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC). NPC deputies have prepared a range of measures to help China achieve its carbon reduction goal.

Li Shiping, an NPC deputy and president of China Baowu Steel Group Central South China Iron & Steel Co, has proposed that China's steel industry should make efforts to implement the commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and promote the industry's green development.

"As an energy-intensive industry, the iron and steel industry is the largest producer of carbon emissions among the 31 categories of manufacturing, accounting for around 15% of China's total carbon emissions," Li explained. "The green and low-carbon development of the iron and steel industry is essential for the country to achieve its goals of peak CO2 emissions and carbon neutrality."

Li proposed strictly controlling the total carbon emissions of energy-intensive enterprises and called for high-emitting industries to upgrade and transform. He also suggested vigorously developing industries and promoting clean and affordable energy sources, including wind and solar energy.

Last September, China vowed to achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, in what has been hailed as a significant step in the fight against climate change. On Dec. 12, 2020, it was announced that China will boost its installed capacity of wind and solar power to more than 1,200 gigawatts by 2030, and increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25% during the same period.

Corresponding arrangements to promote green and low-carbon development have been made at several important conferences. For example, the Central Economic Work Conference held in December 2020 listed the peaking of emissions as one of its key tasks for 2021, and called for accelerated efforts to improve industry and energy structures and enable the peaking of coal consumption at an early date while bolstering the development of new energy.

Liu Hanyuan, an NPC deputy and chairman of Tongwei Group Co, believed that accelerating the development of renewable energy represented by photovoltaic and wind energy is imperative to ensure national strategic security.

"Currently, solar photovoltaic power generation is considered the most economical method of generating power in many countries around the world, and the cost of its generation in China has also been greatly reduced, lower than that of most coal-fired power," Liu said. "Given the cost to the environment, there would be more competitive advantages for the generation of power via photovoltaics."

Liu called for clean electricity generation, vehicle electrification and speeding up the process of achieving carbon neutrality. In addition, he also suggested strictly implementing China's Renewable Energy Law and relevant guarantee policies, as well as accelerating construction of the spot energy market and its associated service market.

China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell by 18.2% between 2015 and the end of 2020, achieving the target set during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period ahead of schedule, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Li Gao, head of the climate change department at China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said during a news briefing that China will propose a reduction target for carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP to be included in the outline of 14th Five-Year Plan objectives as a binding indicator. He added that an action plan for peaking carbon dioxide emissions will also be formulated and implemented during the 14th and 15th five-year plan periods.