Report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China


The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened on 16 October at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi Jinping delivered a report to the congress on behalf of the 19th CPC Central Committee.

The following section of the report refers to the environmentally relevant content.

X. Pursuing Green Development and Promoting Harmony between Humanity and Nature

Nature provides the basic conditions for human survival and development. Respecting, adapting to, and protecting nature is essential for building China into a modern socialist country in all respects. We must uphold and act on the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, and we must remember to maintain harmony between humanity and nature when planning our development.
We will advance the Beautiful China Initiative and take a holistic and systematic approach to the conservation and improvement of mountains, waters, forests, farmlands, grasslands, and deserts. We will carry out coordinated industrial restructuring, pollution control, ecological conservation, and climate response, and we will promote concerted efforts to cut carbon emissions, reduce pollution, expand green development, and pursue economic growth. We will prioritize ecological protection, conserve resources and use them efficiently, and pursue green and low-carbon development.

1. Accelerating the transition to a model of green development
A green and low-carbon economy and society are crucial to high-quality development. We must work faster to adjust and improve the industrial structure, the energy mix, and the composition of the transportation sector. We will implement a comprehensive conservation strategy, conserve resources of all types and use them efficiently, and move faster to put in place a system for recycling waste and used materials. Fiscal, taxation, financial, investment, and pricing policies and systems of standards will be improved to support green development. We will boost green and low-carbon industries and improve the system for market-based allocation of resources and environmental factors. We will accelerate the R&D, promotion, and application of advanced energy-saving and carbon emission reduction technologies, encourage green consumption, and promote green and low-carbon ways of production and life.

2. Intensifying pollution prevention and control
We will continue to control pollution in a lawful, targeted, and science-based way, and we will make further efforts to keep our skies blue, waters clear, and lands clean. Pollutants will be controlled in a better-coordinated way, and we will basically eliminate serious air pollution. We will make concerted efforts to improve aquatic environments, water resources, and aquatic ecosystems, strengthen ecological conservation of major rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, and generally eliminate black, malodorous water bodies in cities. We will strengthen prevention and control of soil contamination at the source and control new pollutants. The environmental infrastructure will be upgraded and living environments in both urban and rural areas will be improved. The pollutant discharge permit system will be implemented across the board, and more will be done to modernize the environmental governance system. We will rigorously prevent and control environmental risks and strengthen central government environmental inspections.

3. Enhancing diversity, stability, and sustainability in our ecosystems
Major projects for preserving and restoring key ecosystems will be carried out at a faster pace in priority areas, including key national ecosystem service zones, ecological conservation redlines, and nature reserves. We will develop the national park-based nature reserve system and carry out major biodiversity protection projects. Large-scale greening programs will be rolled out in a well-planned way, and reform of collective forest tenure will be deepened. We will promote the natural regeneration of grasslands, forests, rivers, lakes, and wetlands, enforce the 10-year fishing ban on the Yangtze River, and improve the system of fallowing and crop rotation.
We will establish mechanisms to realize the market value of ecosystem goods and services and improve the compensation system for ecological conservation. Biosafety and biosecurity management will be strengthened, and efforts will be made to prevent and treat harm caused by invasions of exotic species.

4. Working actively and prudently toward the goals of reaching peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality
Reaching peak carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality will mean a broad and profound systemic socio-economic transformation. Based on China’s energy and resource endowment, we will advance initiatives to reach peak carbon emissions in a well-planned and phased way in line with the principle of building the new before discarding the old. We will exercise better control over the amount and intensity of energy consumption, particularly of fossil fuels, and transition gradually toward controlling both the amount and intensity of carbon emissions.
We will promote clean, low-carbon, and high-efficiency energy use and push forward the clean and low-carbon transition in industry, construction, transportation, and other sectors. We will thoroughly advance the energy revolution. Coal will be used in a cleaner and more efficient way, and greater efforts will be made to explore and develop petroleum and natural gas, discover more untapped reserves, and increase production. We will speed up the planning and development of a system for new energy sources, properly balance hydropower development and ecological conservation, and develop nuclear power in an active, safe, and orderly manner. We will strengthen our systems for energy production, supply, storage, and marketing to ensure energy security. We will improve the statistics and accounting system and the cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. The carbon absorption capacity of ecosystems will be boosted. We will get actively involved in global governance in response to climate change.