China climate change law to integrate environmental protection, energy management and urban-rural development regulations

China has made progress on preparing a law dedicated to tackling climate change, a senior official with the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said.

Li Gao, director of the ministry’s Climate Change Department, added that the ministry will accelerate efforts to promote the legislative process, and incorporate mechanisms for dealing with the global climate crisis into other laws.

The Saihanba forest farm in North China’s Hebei province, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Following a decision by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the law was proposed in 2009 and included in the top legislature’s legislative agenda, Li said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

A group consisting of members from a number of bodies, including the NPC’s Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee and the now defunct Ministry of Environmental Protection, was established in 2011 to draft the legislation, he added.

In 2018, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, assigned the task of tackling climate change to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. As a result of the importance the new ministry attaches to climate legislation, a legal framework was hammered out and a draft law has been drawn up, Li said.

“Currently, the framework for the draft law has reached maturity,” Li said, adding that it is based in part on suggestions solicited from other departments and experts.

At least three provinces, including Qinghai and Shanxi, and three major cities, including Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province, have already enacted legislation or regulations on climate change and low-carbon development, he said. These regional efforts have provided instructive experiences for developing national legislation.

Stressing the need for a special law to deal with global warming, Li vowed that the ministry will work consistently to promote climate legislation.

“We will make the legislation a key part of our efforts to speed up the creation of an ecological civilization and enhance national environmental protection work,” he noted.

Ecological civilization is a concept promoted by President Xi Jinping and refers to balanced, sustainable development based on the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.

In accordance with the guidelines of the legislation, the ministry will encourage the incorporation of climate change regulations into other laws, including those related to environmental protection, energy management and urban-rural development.

Li said the drafting of regulations for the national carbon trading market, which was launched last year and is the world’s largest, is also a major priority.

The ministry has so far issued four trial regulations and two trial technical specifications for the market. With stipulations on procedures for carbon trading and the rights and liabilities of parties, these documents offer guidelines on how to build, operate and supervise the market.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, Li said his ministry is drafting a provisional regulation on trading carbon emission allowances.

“It was included in the legislative work plan of the State Council in 2021,” he said. “Having already passed legislative review, the regulation has been submitted to the State Council for examination and approval as required by procedure.”

Source: Qiushi Journal, 2022-03-30.