Beijing - The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning body, said on Wednesday that it has selected a series of pilot carbon cities as a way of addressing the nation's carbon emissions issues.
"Setting up carbon exchange centers is the way we must go (in the future)," Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the commission added on Wednesday.
The NDRC has selected five provinces, Guangdong, Hubei, Liaoning, Shaanxi and Yunnan, as well as eight cities, including Tianjin, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guiyang, Nanchang and Baoding, as the first batch of areas to develop green economies.
Each area is required to draft its own plan to reduce carbon emissions and develop a green economy for the nation's 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015).
For example, Liaoning province, a traditionally heavy industrial base in northeastern China, has vowed to reduce its 2010 energy consumption by 20 percent and cut carbon emission by 100 million tons before 2015.
"We will utilize the pilot cities and set up our own standards and evaluation system in reducing carbon emissions in order to have a bigger say for China and other developing countries, in the making of international rules," according to Xie.
"China is an active and responsible country in dealing with climate change," Xie added.
The country pledged to reduce its 2005 carbon intensity rate - the amount of carbon dioxide produced per unit of GDP - by 40 to 45 percent before the end of 2020.
China has mostly relied on administrative measures to realize its 20 percent energy intensity reduction target between 2006 and 2010. To that end, the country's top 1,000 energy consumers have signed contracts with the central government to improve their energy efficiency.
But the country is planning to utilize more market-based means and will begin domestic carbon trading programs during the 12th Five-Year Plan to help meet its 2020 carbon intensity target.
Lin Boqiang, director of China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said the pilot projects are the central government's response to global pressure over China's huge carbon emissions and demonstrate the government's commitment to going green.
Lin also pointed out that China should prepare for possible future emission reduction pressure from other countries, which may impact exports and overall economic growth.
The commission has also established a panel on climate change, consisting of more than 30 experts, to hone its international negotiating strategy for addressing climate change issues, according to Xie.