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China: National People’s Congress Resolution on Climate Change

(Nov. 27, 2009) On August 27, 2009, the National People's Congress of China (NPC) Standing Committee adopted a Resolution on Actively Responding to Climate Change. This is the first resolution of its kind adopted by the top legislature of China to deal with climate change. The Resolution recognizes that “to actively respond to climate change concerns the overall economic and social development of China and the immediate interests of the Chinese people. It also has a bearing on human existence and the development of all countries in the world.” (Text of the Resolution [in Chinese], NPC Standing Committee official website, Aug. 27, 2009, available at & [in English translation], Globe International website,
(last visited Nov. 23, 2009).)

China signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on June 11, 1992; it was ratified by the NPC Standing Committee on November 7 of the same year. The NPC Standing Committee has formulated and amended a series of laws relating to climate change, including the Energy Conservation Law (2007 Amendment), the Law on Renewable Sources of Energy (2005), the Circular Economy Promotion Law (2008), the Law on Promoting Clean Production (2002), the Forest Law (1998 Amendment), and the Grasslands Law (2002 Amendment). In 2006, the Outline of the 11th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development was approved by the NPC, setting the goals and tasks for China in energy conservation and pollution reduction.

The Resolution vows to strengthen China's legal framework addressing climate change. The Resolution states that climate change-related legislation will be incorporated into the legislative agenda as an important task of “establishing and improving the socialist legal framework with Chinese features.” The existing laws tackling climate change and protecting the environment will be amended and improved “in due time,” supporting regulations will be adopted in a timely fashion, and new laws and regulations will be introduced to provide stronger legal guarantees for addressing climate change. In addition, the Resolution indicates that the NPC will strengthen the supervision and inspection of the implementation of the relevant laws. (Text, supra.)