China issues White Paper on climate change

BEIJING, (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese government has outlined major initiatives to combat climate change on Tuesday. The country's top economic planning body has issued a White Paper on the issue, summarizing past efforts, and laying out a clear road map for green development over the next five years.
Strong commitments from China on fighting climate change. The new White Paper puts forward legally binding targets for the next five years. These include a 17% cut in carbon emissions, a 16 percent decrease in energy use per unit of GDP, and a goal of lifting non-fossil-fuel energy usage from its current level of 8.6 percent, to 11.4 percent of total energy consumption.

NDRC climate director Su Wei believes that this is the ideal time for China to set ambitious targets. Su Wei, director of Climate Office, NDRC, said, "2011 is the first year of the 12th five year plan."

Energy efficiency drives over the past five years have produced appreciable results. Energy use per unit of GDP decreased by around 19% in 2010 compared with the 2005 levels, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 1.5 billion tons.

China has already made headway in its research into renewable energy sources. But challenges remain. Zhou Dadi, an expert on energy conservation and efficiency, cites China’s urbanization process and a coal-dominated energy mix as major obstacles that lie ahead.

Kang Yanbing, who has involved in the drafting process, believes the White Paper has given prescriptions to overcoming the challenges.

Kang Yanbing said, "We have targeted on the industrial companies before, now I think we need to target both the manufacture end and the consumption end. These range from enterprises in agriculture, service industries, to ordinary consumers. Second, we need to implement more market-based policies to help small and medium-sized companies get involved in low-carbon economy."

The White Paper also lays out plans to cap China’s total energy consumption, and launch a pilot project for a carbon emissions trading market.

The white paper lays out a specific roadmap for cutting carbon emission in the next five years. But an increasingly complex and fragile environment means that this task will not be an easy one. How to achieve more while emitting less remains a long-term challenge.

Source: China Daily USA