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China to remain reliant on coal for the long term: govt official

world Updated: Sep 25, 2009 13:09 IST

AFP
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China will continue to rely on coal for most of its energy needs for a long time, a senior official said Friday, just days after the nation's president pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"It is an indisputable fact that China mainly relies on coal for its overall energy structure. Such a structure will remain hard to change for a long time," Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, told a news conference.

China, which is level pegging with the United States as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, relies on coal for nearly 70 percent of its energy needs.

In his UN speech on climate change this week, Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to curb growth of carbon dioxide emissions in China by a "notable margin" by 2020 from their 2005 levels, but did not provide a figure for the cuts.

Zhang said the government would "go all out" to develop renewable energy sources to "reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption".

As an example of its efforts so far, China's installed wind power capacity was the fourth biggest in the world after increasing four-fold in the past three years to more than 12 gigawatts, Zhang said.

"I am confident that in the near future installed wind power capacity in China will be the first or second largest in the world," Zhang said.

China has committed in its current five-year plan to cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent between 2006 and 2010.

It also aims to get 10 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020.