In June 2012 was studied that China’s carbon emissions could be nearly 20% higher than thought. The national statistics show 7.5% annual growth from 1997 to 7.69 billion tonnes in 2010. In contrast, aggregated emissions of Chinese provinces increased 8.5% annually to 9.08 billion tonnes in 2010. By comparison, US emissions were 6.87 billion tonnes in 2010.
The Chinese national carbon trading scheme was announced in November 2008 by the national government to enforce a compulsory carbon emission trading scheme across the country’s provinces as part of its strategy to create a “low carbon civilisation”. The scheme would allow provinces to earn money by investing in carbon capture systems in those regions that fail to invest in the technology.
In 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao, the sixth and current Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, promised to use an
“iron hand” to make China more energy efficient. China has surpassed the rest of the world as the biggest investor in wind turbines and other renewable energy technology. And it has dictated tough new energy standards for lighting and gas kilometrage for cars. With $34.6 billion invested in clean technology in 2009, China is the world’s leading investor in renewable energy technologies. China produces more wind turbines and solar panels each year than any other country. Coal is predicted to remain the most important power source in the near future but China has been seen as the world leader in clean coal technology. Moreover, nuclear power is planned to be rapidly expanded.
What about the future?
As Wu Changhua, director, Greater China Climate Group, and Co-Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Climate Change says that clean revolution is included to the top agenda by the new leadership, which just took office in China. Domestically, the country will carry on its commitments to energy, resource saving and clean energy as laid out in its current 12th Five-Year Plan. Meanwhile, more ambitious policy targets are being explored, including cap-and-trade, with seven local piloting schemes to take off in 2013. Shifting the fuel structure towards non-fossil-based energy is another national priority, with targets clearly set at the national and local level, and programmes and projects developed to promote the deployment of renewable energy at the facility, community and city level.
Internationally, with Doha around the corner, the new leadership is expected to honour the current commitment to a carbon intensity target of at least 40-45% by 2020 over the 2005 level. With an increasing level of confidence through domestic efforts, we could expect China to play a more constructive role in the international process.
China ought to adopt measures against climate change since sea level rise, glacier retreat and air pollution are issues that may affect the country dramatically.