Hitting green targets

By Yang Hongwei
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, December 1, 2010
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By 2020, energy consumption per unit of GDP needs to decline by a further 30 percent based on the 20 percent reduction in the 11th Five-Year-Plan period (2006-2010). This will require China to utilize renewable energy, nuclear power and other non-fossil energy sources, and initiate policies and measures to improve energy efficiency.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan, in order to realize the 20 percent energy intensity reduction target, China has eliminated many faulty production facilities and shut down many small thermal power stations, iron and steel plants and cement plants.

However, employment, social justice, poverty alleviation and other factors will also increase the social pressure on energy conservation and emissions reduction. According to statistics, during the first four years of the 11th Five-Year-Plan period, the shutting down of 70 gigawatts of small-scale thermal power capacity affected the employment of about 400,000 people. The government and workers at all levels bore the direct social costs of these closures.

It is indisputable that during the transformation of China's economy and society, the economic and social affects of energy conservation and emission reduction will pose enormous challenges.

However, in the face of these challenges, China has chosen to follow the path of sustainable development and is adopting positive measures to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The efforts undertaken by China are already much greater than many developed countries. For example, from 2006 to the middle of 2009, China eliminated more than 54 gW of small-scale power-generating units with capacity of less than 100 megawatts, about 70 percent of the total installed capacity of the United Kingdom.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan, China's investments in achieving the 20 percent target in energy intensity exceeded 1 trillion yuan. However, an additional investment of 3.4 trillion yuan is still needed to achieve a further 20 percent reduction.

According to HSBC, 34 percent of China's total government investment during the international financial crisis has been invested in environment-related measures.

A decline in the carbon dioxide intensity per unit of GDP reflects an improvement in economic benefits created by a unit of carbon dioxide emissions in a country. It also reflects a country's efforts to battle climate change within the framework of sustainable development.

The great efforts made by China to reduce the carbon dioxide intensity per unit of GDP during the process of industrialization have already exceeded efforts by many developed countries when they were in the same development stage.

This demonstrates that China is committed to being responsible and determined when it comes to climate change.

The author is director of Beijing Energy Efficiency Center.

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