China Will Meet Energy Cutback Goals

China says it will achieve its goal of a 20 percent reduction of energy intensity and a 10 percent cut in major pollutant emission against 2005 levels by the end of this year, according to official figures.

Success in meeting the goals is largely thanks to hefty government investment, coupled with threats against the non-compliant toward the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2005-2010).

The state-run China Daily cited a study by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) showing that government funding for energy conservation, emissions reduction, and environmental protection measures incited a great deal of green investment from the private sector. The commission’s study also said that more than 70 percent of coal-fired power stations have installed flue gas desulphurization systems, while 998 energy-consuming enterprises achieved energy-saving goals laid out by the government.

Earlier this year Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned he would use an “iron fist” to ensure the targets were met, promising to close some of the country's most inefficient factories and heavy manufacturing plants if they remained non-compliant with the targets. The People’s Daily also reported that some regions have carried out enforced power blackouts over the last few days to ensure they meet the targets. However China still remains the world's second-largest energy-user, consuming 2.146 billion metric tons of oil-equivalent last year, compared with the 2.382 billion metric tons the United States used.

The NDRC report said “arduous efforts” would be necessary to realize the country's ambition of moving toward more environmentally friendly economic growth by 2020, including decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 50 percent per unit of GDP from 2005 levels, increasing non-fossil fuel energy share to 15 percent in primary energy, and adding 40 million hectares of forest land. A series of new policies will be enacted over the next few months for the forthcoming 12th Five-Year Plan, which will run from 2011 to 2015. The plan is expected to include new national targets for energy and carbon intensity, as well as regional targets for provinces to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, plans to roll out carbon-trading schemes, and measures to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles and renewable-energy capacity.