China, the world’s largest polluter, says it is close to achieving a national five-year goal to cut energy consumption by this year’s end.
This week, China is for the first time hosting UN talks to ‘narrow differences’ and prepare a 70-page negotiating text for the Cancun conference in Mexico later this year when countries will discuss a global agreement for action against manmade climate change. While the deadlock between developed and developing nations continues over agreeing on a legally binding plan, China is driving home the point that it’s taking drastic domestic action.
Beijing had pledged to cut energy use per unit of GDP by 20 per cent in 2010, compared to 2005 levels. China’s top climate negotiator said on Monday that 18 regions are likely to meet the target, but six to seven regions are facing challenges despite power blackouts.
“We only achieved a 15.6 per cent cut by 2009, so we have to cut 5 per cent this year to reach our target,” Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, was quoted saying in Tianjin.
Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh, who says India will focus on low-carbon economic growth at 8-9 per cent, will arrive in Tianjin on October 10. China would also focus on restructuring the economy to save energy use, top legislator Dai Bingguo said.
China’s energy consumption rose by 0.09 in the year’s first half, after falling from 2005-09. Premier Wen Jiabao has warned that local officials may be punished or sacked for failing to meet energy efficiency targets. “It’s very challenging to further cut energy use,’’ the China Daily quoted Xie saying. “We have to adopt active measures.”
China also plans to reduce carbon intensity, or carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020. India, the world’s third-largest carbon dioxide polluter, aims to cut carbon intensity by half as much.
Rich nations need to cut carbon: China
Greenhouse gas cuts vowed by rich nations remain far from enough to escape dangerous global warming, a top Chinese climate official said on Tuesday, urging talks over a new climate change pact to confront the shortfall.
But Su Wei, the head of the climate change office at China's National Development and Reform Commission, said wealthy countries with their much higher emissions per head of population should make space for emerging economies.
"The emissions targets of developed countries should be dramatically raised," he said adding that this would "create the room necessary for developing countries' emissions".