Beijing sets new energy intensity reduction goal

China aims to cut its energy intensity by 5 percent in 2009, the country’s climate change ambassador Yu Qingtai said on Wednesday.

The statement comes as a move by the Beijing government to counter the harsh criticisms of the Chinese environmental politics on the way to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next December. China is under pressure as the highest annual emitter of the gasses that cause global warming. It will be in the spotlight this December when the world tries to settle a global framework for tackling climate change.

“Through three years of continuous effort we have already cut energy consumption per unit of GDP (gross domestic product) by 10 percent, this year we plan to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by another five percent,” Yu told a news conference on China’s climate change policies.

The country used 3.35 percent less energy to generate each dollar of GDP in the first half of 2009 than a year earlier.

Last year the speed of reduction picked up from 2.88 percent in the first half to reach 4.59 percent for the full year, so if 2009 follows the same trend, the target laid out by Yu should be within reach.

The country has set a goal of cutting energy intensity by 20 percent over the five years to 2010, even as overall energy consumption continues to rise.  Originally, the target was a 4 percent yearly reduction: a goal abandoned after falling short in 2006, but the government has stuck to the overall aim and the efficiency push is now gathering steam.

Beijing says that its emissions per capita and over the course of history are lower than those of rich nations that went through long, dirty periods of industrialisation.


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