Tue, Mar 29, 2011 - Page 10 News List

China unveils new efficiency goals

AP, BEIJING

China has issued new targets to curb carbon output and improve efficiency in using energy and water, state media reported yesterday.

A government official announced that China aims to reduce energy use and carbon emissions per unit of economic output this year by 4 percent, Xinhua news agency said.

Beijing also wants to reduce water use per unit of output by 7 percent this year, Zhou Changyi (周長益), an official in the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said during a conference in Nanjing.

The government said it successfully completed a five-year effort last year to reduce energy use per unit of output by nearly 20 percent from 2005 levels.

Meeting the energy efficiency target was seen as a key marker of China’s commitment toward fighting global warming. It has surpassed the US as the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, largely because its economic development during the past three decades has relied on labor and energy-intensive growth.

The new cuts are part of China’s wider plan to reduce both energy consumption and carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 18 percent during the next five years, Industry and Information Technology Vice Minister Su Bo (蘇波) said. The government pledged a 30 percent reduction in water consumption per unit of GDP during the same period, he said.

The targets are slightly higher than what China had pledged to do in its 12th Five-Year Plan released earlier this year during its annual National People’s Congress. In the original plan, energy use and carbon emissions would be cut by 16 percent, while water use would come down by 25 percent.

As the world’s largest carbon emitter, China had pledged to reduce its carbon use per unit of economic output by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels as part of its contribution toward combating climate change.

In essence, China has vowed to cut the rate at which it consumes energy, though not the overall amount of carbon it emits.

Government data show China saw a 26 percent decline in energy use per unit of GDP in the five years to last year, as the country closed down thousands of outdated and heavily polluting power plants.

China’s leadership has voiced a desire to shift the economy away from coal-intensive industries. Coal-fired power accounts for 70 percent of the country’s energy, with China consuming 2.7 billions tonnes last year.

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