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White paper lists China’s success in tackling climate change

In this undated file photo, workers install solar panels at a reservoir in Feidong county, Hefei city, Anhui province. (RUAN XUEFENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

BEIJING – Significant changes have taken place in China as the country responds to climate change, according to a white paper released Wednesday by the State Council Information Office.

China has coordinated economic development with pollution and emission reduction, pushed forward revolutions in energy production and consumption, driven low-carbon industrial transition, increased carbon sink capacity of ecosystems, and promoted green and low carbon lifestyles, said the white paper titled "Responding to Climate Change: China's Policies and Actions."

The drop in carbon intensity translates to a total reduction of about 5.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2020, and demonstrates that China has largely reversed the rapid growth of its carbon dioxide emissions

The following are highlights of the country's achievements in this respect revealed in the white paper:

China's carbon intensity has decreased significantly.

The country's carbon intensity in 2020 was 18.8 percent lower than that in 2015 and 48.4 percent less than that in 2005, which means that China had more than fulfilled its commitment of achieving a 40 to 45 percent reduction in carbon intensity from the 2005 level by 2020.

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The drop in carbon intensity translates to a total reduction of about 5.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2020, and demonstrates that China has largely reversed the rapid growth of its carbon dioxide emissions.

Non-fossil energy is developing rapidly in China.

Preliminary calculations show that in 2020, non-fossil energy contributed 15.9 percent to China's total energy consumption, a significant increase of 8.5 percentage points compared with 2005.

The total installed capacity of non-fossil energy power generation in China accounted for 44.7 percent of total installed capacity. The installed capacity of photovoltaic (PV) power increased by a factor of more than 3,000 compared with 2005, and wind by a factor of more than 200.

China is rapidly reducing its energy consumption intensity.       

Preliminary calculations show that the reduction from 2011 to 2020 reached 28.7 percent, one of the fastest in the world.

During the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), China fueled an average annual economic growth of 5.7 percent with an average annual energy consumption growth of 2.8 percent, and the amount of energy it saved accounted for about half of the global energy savings in the same period.

China has accelerated the transformation to a clean and low-carbon energy consumption structure.

In 2020, China's total energy consumption was kept under 5 billion tonnes of standard coal. The proportion of coal in its total energy consumption dropped from 72.4 percent in 2005 to 56.8 percent in 2020.

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The new energy industry is witnessing strong growth.

China has topped the world in new energy vehicle output and sales for the last six years.

As of the end of 2020, China had secured the largest share in the global output of polycrystalline silicon, PV cells and PV modules, and led the world in PV capacity additions for eight consecutive years; its installed capacity for new energy storage stood at 3.3 million kW, the largest in the world.