The State Council printed and distributed the Three-Year Action Plan for Winning the Blue Sky Defense Battle (hereinafter referred to as the Action Plan) recently, upon the approval of Premier Li Keqiang. The document sets out the overall thinking, basic objectives, key tasks, and support measures for the control of air pollution, and draws the timeline and road map for successfully defending the blue sky against air pollution.
The Action Plan stresses the importance to carry forward the air pollution control initiatives, especially in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas, Yangtze River delta, and Fenhe-Weihe Plain, by wielding the economic, legal, technical, and administrative instruments, if necessary, under the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council as well as the guiding principles of the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection, by upholding the new development philosophy, mobilizing the whole nation, and controlling the pollution at the source, so as to win the blue sky defense battle and achieve multiple wins in the environmental, economic, and social dimensions.
The objectives are, over three years’ efforts, the total load of main air pollutants will have been significantly reduced, along with less greenhouse gas emissions, and the concentration of fine particular matters will have been notably lowered down, which will have led to much less days with heavy air pollution, remarkably improved air quality, and much greater sense of happiness for the people from the sight of blue skies. Furthermore, by the year 2020, the total annual emissions of either sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides will have been down above 15 percent from the 2015 baseline; the concentration of fine particulate matters in nonattainment cities at or above the prefectural level will have been down over 18 percent from the 2015 level; the cities at or above prefectural level will have recorded clean or fairly clean air during 80 percent of the days across the year, and the number of the days with heavy or severe pollution will have dropped over 25 percent from the 2015 level.
To this end, the document puts forward six measures with quantifiable indicators and timelines. First, we will adjust and optimize the industrial structure and promote the green industrial development. We will optimize the industrial layout, strictly control the production capacity of resource-intensive and highly polluting industries, tighten the integrated management of the unregulated random polluters, further control the industrial pollution, and vigorously foster the green and environment-friendly industry.
Second, we will accelerate the adjustment of the energy mix and establish a clean, low-carbon, and efficient energy framework. We will substantially promote clean heating in the northern part of the country, continue to control the total coal consumption in key regions, conduct the integrated management of coal-fired boilers, raise the energy efficiency, and accelerate the development of clean energy and new energy.
Third, we will actively adjust the transportation structure and develop green transport system. We will raise the share of railway cargo transportation, expedite the upgrading of automobile, ship and oil products, and tighten the control of pollution from mobile sources.
Fourth, we will optimize and adjust the land use structure and press ahead with the control of pollution from non-point sources. We will carry out the sand fixation and afforestation projects, advance the integrated management of open mines, step up the control of flying dust, and increase the comprehensive stalk utilization and further control ammonia discharge.
Fifth, we will launch major campaigns to substantially reduce pollutants. We will control the air pollution in key regions in autumn and winter, battle against pollution from diesel-fueled trucks, treat the industrial kilns and furnaces, and control the VOCs emission.
Sixth, we will strengthen regional cooperation on control of heavy air pollution. We will put in place a sound mechanism for the regional cooperation on air pollution control, step up the cooperation against heavy air pollution, and consolidate the reduction measures in case of emergencies.