The MEE (Ministry of Ecology & Environment) of China has recently announced plans to strengthen controls in steel, aluminum, and other industries that involve high energy usage and emissions. This initiative has been taken in a bid to promote low-carbon developments in the region.
The announcement came after decades of breakneck industrial expansion across the country. Most recently, the region has vowed to start reducing carbon emissions by 2030 and reach the net-zero carbon target by 2060. In order to achieve its low-carbon targets, it has already urged various regions to tighten their energy efficiency controls.
China’s dual controls on energy consumption and intensity, i.e. the energy amount consumed per unit of GDP, have been considered highly significant since the commitment of President Xi Jinping in September to cut the carbon emissions and become carbon neutral by 2060.
The MEE, in guidelines sent to the local environment regulators, urged the local government to consider environment quality as a bottom line during instances of relocation or expansion of polluting projects in their localities. In accordance with the laws & regulations, the new and expanded chemical, petrochemical, coal, and nonferrous projects must be located in industrial parks, the environment ministry cited.
The statement further added that the authorities should not lower the approval requirements for the sake of reform pilots for oil refining, steel, ethylene, aluminum, coking, and other projects that present high environmental risks and impacts. The MEE also has promoted the transformation of steel mills in key areas to electric arc furnaces from the extensive steelmaking processes that use converters and blast furnaces.
Furthermore, the MEE required each provincial environment regulator to manage and coordinate local high emission and energy intensity projects, and later report the findings by October end as well as an update about the projects every 6 months.