China promised yesterday to develop renewable energy for its fast-growing economy but warned that coal consumption will grow dramatically and avoided embracing binding limits on its greenhouse gas emissions.
In a report on its energy plans, the government announced no new initiatives but said it wants to curb reliance on oil and gas to drive an economy that is the world's second-biggest energy consumer after the US.
"China gives top priority to developing renewable energy," said the 44-page report released by the Cabinet's press office.
The report said Beijing will promote hydroelectric, nuclear, solar and wind energy, as well natural gas extracted from garbage dumps and coal mines.
China's economic boom has sharply increased its need for imported oil and gas.
That has prompted complaints that Chinese demand is driving record-high world crude prices and led to diplomatic strains as Beijing builds closer ties with oil-rich pariah states such as Sudan and Iran.
Communist leaders worry about the mounting damage to China's battered environment from fossil fuel use and see mounting reliance on imported energy as a strategic weakness.
The report said China takes greenhouse gases seriously and some of its measures would reduce its emissions.
But there was no mention of whether Beijing might agree to demands by Washington to sign up to binding limits.
Beijing has rejected such limits, arguing that developing countries such as China are not to blame for current pollution levels and need to increase energy production to fight poverty.
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