Provincial governments in China have issued 155 permits for new coal-fired power plants, despite the country’s efforts to reduce emissions. (ABC: Bill Birtles)
Regardless of pumping as a lot carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the subsequent four biggest polluters combined, China will use this week’s UN conference in Paris to stake a worldwide leadership claim on climate modify.
Six years on from the disappointing Copenhagen conference, exactly where China was seen by the West as largely impeding a binding agreement, Beijing is bringing a raft of ambitious commitments to the table.
A heavy smog covers Beijing. (ABC: Stephen McDonell)
Chief among them, a state-led investment drive for renewables with an aim of sourcing 20 per cent of the country’s power requirements from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
Accompanying that is a pledge to peak the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions by about 2030, and to lessen carbon emission intensity by up to 65 per cent in the identical period.
Li Yuan, the CEO of China Merchants New Power Group [the green power arm of a main state-owned enterprise] mentioned the planet has “already witnessed China’s speed in developing its green power industry”.
“Final year’s speed was the quickest. This year we’ve reached the highest capacity construction of wind energy and solar energy in the globe.”
China in 2014 spent about $ 115 billion on solar and wind power, and other types of renewable power, putting it far ahead of the European Union and the United States for investment.
In a sign of how eager Beijing is to invest, Mr Li’s firm has gone from operating one solar energy plant to running 46 of them in 3 years.
Questions raised more than pilot emissions trading scheme
Another pledge China has announced includes the creation of a national carbon emissions trading scheme by 2017.
Pilot applications have been trialled in seven cities, but in at least a single of them, Shenzhen, permit trading has been sluggish since of the slowing economy and an oversupply of permits.
That has raised inquiries about the effectiveness of the national scheme after it has been launched.
China spent $ 155 billion on renewable energy final year. (AFP: China Out)
Further concerns are becoming raised about China’s heavy reliance on coal.
A current revision of national coal use figures revealed the government had been underreporting the quantity of coal getting used for energy every single year by as much as 600 million tonnes, or 17 per cent of the country’s total use.
And despite power demand dropping off in line with a slowing economy, a Greenpeace study revealed provincial governments have issued 155 permits for new coal-fired power plants.
“If those power plants are constructed in the future, they will create 6 per cent of the annual carbon dioxide emissions of China. So that will pose a great threat to the Chinese effort for meeting the objectives of cutting coal and cutting carbon emissions,” Greenpeace East Asia campaigner Dong Liansai said.
China’s president Xi Jinping will address the opening ceremony of the Paris conference, but Chinese officials have said they will not be bringing any added pledges to the table.
The country’s prime climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua cautioned that China’s economy and continual pursuit of stability would be factored in to the government’s plans.
“We are taking all the proper actions to solve this problem [climate change]. But right now, in accordance with our existing stage of development, China’s current scenario need to consider the stability of the economy, the employment of workers,” he mentioned.
“So we may well need to work to execute our objective step by step.”
Topics: pollution, air-pollution, atmosphere, climate-change, planet-politics, china, france
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