The Objective of 20 Percent Per-unit GDP Energy Consumption Is Possible

0 CommentsPrint E-mail, December 30, 2009
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The First World Low Carbon and Eco-economy Conference and Technical Exposition were held recently in Nanchang, the capital city of China's Jiangxi Province.

Some 286 of the world's top 500 multinational corporations sent their senior managers to the conference, which was jointly hosted by seven state ministries including National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The conference fully explored China's emphasis on low carbon economy. What is low carbon economy? Why has China decided to develop it? What has China already achieved? The deputy secretary general of China's NDRC, Ma Liqiang, answers these questions.

A low carbon economy is an inevitable choice

Q: Nowadays, China and Western countries are stressing the development of low carbon economy. How do we define the term?

Ma Liqiang: Low carbon economy is mainly based on the improvement of energy efficiency, the development of renewable resources and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the process of production, circulation and consumption. To deal with the challenge of climate change and to develop a low carbon economy has become an inevitable choice for China's social and economic development.

Q: Why has China decided to develop low carbon economy?

Ma Liqiang: With a huge population, complex climatic conditions and a fragile ecological situation, China is one of the countries most impacted by negative climate change. This has led to a great threat to agricultural production, food security, economic development, ecology protection, water resources utilization and public health, so to tackle climate change actively is an urgent need in China. Internal demand means China must actively cope with climate change for it to realize sustainable development. China is now at a critical period in building up a relatively well-off society, and also industrialization and accelerated urbanization. The task of developing the economy and mitigating climate change is an arduous one. As a developing country, China is still on a relatively low rung of economic development and thus development is still the foremost priority. At the current development stage, coal is still the major part of China's energy composition. Conflicts in the country's economic structure are still striking, the country still has an extensive growth model, the utilization rate of energy is still low and energy demand will keep rising, so China is still facing huge pressure and difficulties in controlling greenhouse gas emission.

To develop low carbon economy will help China to break bottleneck restrictions of resources and the environment in economic development. It will help to promote industrial upgrading and business technological innovation in China, build up China's core global competitiveness in the future, promote the process of dealing with global climate change and protect our common home on Earth.

Low carbon economy attains primary achievements

Q: What efforts has China made to develop low-carbon economy?

Ma Liqiang: The Chinese Government has always attached great importance to climate change and it regards the associated issues as part of its policy of scientific outlook on development and sustainable development. From this year, China has begun to treat the development of low-carbon economy as an important opportunity for its future development. President Hu Jintao explicitly proposed the plan of internalizing ways to cope with climate change into China's national economic and social development planning at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in September 2009 and China is making great efforts to develop green economy, low carbon economy and recycled economy. Before these moves, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress heard special reports by the State Council and made resolutions on actively coping with climate change.

Q: Up to now, what has China achieved by implementing measures on low carbon economy development?

Ma Liqiang: The past three years saw China's energy consumption per unit of GDP drop by 10.1 percent. On this basis, in the first half of 2009, China's energy consumption in producing a unit of GDP dropped 3.35 percent year-on-year.

The state has set up the goal during the 11th Five-Year Plan of reducing its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent with the proportion of renewable resources reaching 10 percent. These are attainable objectives. Through these measures, during the 11th Five-Year Plan, China will at least reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 billion tons. In order to reach its objectives, governments at various levels have invested a lot of money in programs of energy conservation, energy efficiency improvement, renewable resource development, environmental protection and increasing carbon sinks. In recent years, China has issued financial policy incentives to raise the energy conservation threshold of buildings and promote high-efficiency and energy-saving products. The state has adopted price and taxation policies to support the development of renewable resources and new energy, to encourage energy-saving development and environment-friendly industries as well as industries using resources in a comprehensive way, and to accelerate the development and utilization of low carbon technologies. Accelerating the development and utilization of low carbon technology

Q: As a developing economy, how will China develop low carbon economy in coming years?

 Ma Liqiang: It is the vast majority of countries?consensus to develop low carbon economy as a way to cope with global climate change. But different countries have different conditions at different development stages. Thus they have different understandings of low carbon economy. As a developing country, China sees development as the first priority, so it will never copy developed economies in developing low carbon economy. Even in different areas around the country, there will be different ways of low carbon economy development.

The NDRC will actively play a leading role by strengthening policy coordination and guidance, coordinating existing policies on the control of greenhouse gas emissions, formulating the policy framework for low carbon economy and guidelines, so as to fully tap various aspects of capabilities; and combine the concept of low carbon economy with measures on energy conservation, industrial restructuring and optimization of energy composition. With the participation of all society, we will accelerate industrial upgrading and the pace of the development and utilization of low carbon technology. China's NDRC will also choose typical areas and industries to conduct pilot programs of low carbon economy. At the same time, we need to be actively involved in exchanges and cooperation with other countries, so as to absorb greater experience, advanced technology and foreign capital.

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