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China could beat its 2030 emissions target

By Ren Jie (China Daily Europe) Updated: 2016-11-06 13:57

Developed countries are urged to keep their climate change promises as progress is made on carbon reduction

Energy and climate experts say it is possible for China to meet its target of peak emissions earlier than its 2030 target, despite uncertainties and challenges.

The speed of progress could be affected by the economic development cycle and capital issues, they say, and they are urging developed countries to keep their pledges, made at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, to provide $100 billion a year to help developing countries cut emissions.

The finance issue will be a key topic in the upcoming global climate change talks in the Moroccan city of Marrakech, says Yang Fuqiang, senior adviser on climate and energy for the Natural Resources Defense Council China Program. He was speaking at a seminar in Beijing ahead of the new round of climate talks, scheduled for Nov 7-18, which aim to push the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The seminar was co-hosted by the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy and China Dialogue.

Climate finance will remain a tough issue, Yang says, adding that the European Union and Japan say they have provided funds for developing countries, but the actual amounts may be far less than promised.

Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, a government-affiliated think tank, says emissions may peak sooner than expected but it is hard to say exactly when. Progress will be affected by the economic development cycle and the country's economic transformation process.

Zhou Dadi, senior research fellow and former president of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, says countries and economies might make different appeals at the Marrakech talks, but there should be someone prepared to lead and push the implementation of the Paris Agreement. China will perform as a responsible power in accordance with its abilities and world status, and hopes it can lead the way in low-carbon development, Zhou says.

Zhou says he believes China is able to meet its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, and may meet the target of peak emissions before 2025. However, more research is still needed. Maintaining low carbon levels during the urbanization process is also a challenge.

China has made headway in meeting its emission and energy-use reduction targets, Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change, told a news conference. Xie said that China's energy use per unit of GDP dropped by 5.2 percent in the first three quarters, compared with the whole of last year, and has exceeded the whole-year target of 3.4 percent for this year.

China also plans to launch a national carbon-trading scheme next year, Xie said, adding that pilot programs have already traded 120 million carbon allowances, with total transactions reaching 3.2 billion yuan ($472.7 million; 383 million euros; 386 million).

China will soon release its low-carbon development strategy for the years until 2050, Xie said.

Xin Zhiming contributed to this story.

renjie@chinadaily.com.cn

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