On Apr. 8, 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao signed the State Council Decree on Regulation on Management of Ozone Depleting Substances (hereinafter referred to as the Regulation), which will take place on June 1, 2010. An official from Office of Legislative Affairs, the State Council answered reporters' questions on the Regulation.
Q: Why do we need to formulate the Regulation?
A: Ozone layer of the stratosphere is able to absorb the majority of harmful ultraviolet radiation and protects earth life from danger. However, artificial chemicals widely used by humans have seriously destructed the ozone layer, leading to penetration of large amount of UV and severe damage to earth life and ecological environment. These chemicals destroying ozone layers are defined by the scientific circle as ozone depleting substances (ODS).
To protect the ozone layer and phase out ODS, the international community signed Vienna Convention on the Protection of Ozone Layer (hereinafter referred to as the Convention) and Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (hereinafter referred to as the Protocol) in 1985 and 1987 respectively. China became a signatory party to the Convention and the Protocol in 1989 and 1991 respectively. In the past two decades, it has been conscientious to perform the set obligations and made outstanding achievement in ODS phasing out. As required by the Protocol, China will complete the phasing out by 2030.
As China is now in a transitional period, legislation on reduction and phase out of ODS has great significance.
First, it helps us to better fulfill our international obligations. Phasing out of ODS has been progressing smoothly in China thanks to the technical support and financial aid provided by the Multilateral Fund established under the Protocol. Nonetheless, the overall production and consumption of ODS in China is still big. Thus, the task remains arduous if we are to consolidate what has been achieved and meet the next target. Therefore, we need to review management experience, improve management system and regulate production, sales, use, import and export of ODS. To establish a legal system for ODS phase out will only make us better perform international obligations and foster an image of a responsible country.
Second, it is useful for adjusting and optimizing industrial structure. Developed countries have all begun to prohibit the import of products containing ODS after they had phased out ODS in the first place. So related industries of China must seek alternatives if they want to gain a foothold in international market. The reality tells us that elimination of ODS provides strong impetus to our effort to adjust and optimize industrial structure and to improve international competence of our products.
Third, the Regulation will contribute to energy conservation and emission reduction. Statistics from China Household Electrical Appliances Association reveals that before the replacement, energy efficiency of fridges using CFC as refrigerant were measured at Level IV or V while after the replacement, energy consumption has been reduced to Level I or II, saving more than 30% of energy. In addition, ODS are mostly key components of GHG, so elimination of ODS will significantly reduce GHG emissions.
Q: What is the adjustment scope of the Regulation?
A: ODS referred to in this Regulation include chemicals that destroy ozone layer and are subject to China's Control List of ODS. MEP will work with other departments of the State Council to formulate and adjust the list and make it public. The Regulation is applicable to any activities related to production, sales, use and import & export of ODS within the territory of China. In particular, production means activities that produce ODS; use refers to production and dealings involving ODS, except household use of fridges and air conditioners that contain ODS.
Q: What are the objective and task of ODS management?
A: As required by the Protocol, the Regulation identifies the objective and task of ODS management. It provides that China will gradually reduce and completely phase out ODS used as refrigerant, blowing agent, fire-extinguishing agent, solvent, cleanser, processing agent, pesticide, aerosol, expansive agent, etc. The Regulation also requires MEP and other ministries to draft National Plan on the Phase-out of Ozone-depleting Substances in China and submit it to the State Council for approval.
Q: What are the systems set to help achieve phasing out target and tasks?
A: First, the Protocol specifies the timetable for ODS phasing out for all parties. Parties must control and gradually cut down production, use and import & export of ODS according to the requirement of the Protocol. Therefore, the Regulation established a cap control system for ODS, requiring that MEP and other related departments under the State Council to determine quotas for annual output, use, import and export of ODS according to the National Plan and progress of ODS phasing out.
Second, after the quotas are fixed, they will be allocated to organizations involved in production, use, import and export. Therefore, the Regulation established quota management system which requires that manufacturers and users of ODS should apply to MEP for quota permit (use of small quantity is excluded); importers and exporters should apply for quota to national administration for ODS import and export and get approval of import and export.
Q: What are the legal measures provided by the Regulation to effectively combat illegal production, use, import and export of ODS?
A: The first one is to strengthen law enforcement. The Regulation provides that supervisory agencies are authorized to make investigation and obtain evidence, require organizations being checked to provide related materials, explanations and to seize and seal up ODS that are illegally produced, sold, used, imported and exported as well as related production equipment, facilities, raw materials and products.
The second is to make clear legal responsibilities. The Regulation sets strict legal liabilities for various likely violations in the production, use, import and export of ODS including fine, confiscation of illegal goods and earnings, disassembly of related equipment and facilities, quota deduction as well as withdrawal of quota permits.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)