China plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 3.1% this year as the growth rate of its economy continues to slow, Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday.
The target is the last stretch in China’s 5-year ambition to cut carbon intensity 17% over 2010-2015, as part of its overall ambition to ensure greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2030.
Li announced the target in his opening speech to the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s annual parliamentary session.
The government’s work report, distributed ahead of Li’s speech, showed China plans to spend 29.1 billion yuan ($4.64 billion) on energy conservation and environmental protection in 2015.
“We will set a ceiling on total energy consumption and strengthen energy conservation in key areas such as manufacturing, transportation, and construction,” the report said.
“We will actively respond to climate change and expand the trials for trading carbon emissions rights,” it said, without adding further detail.
Li said China expects its economic growth rate to continue to slow down, and has set a 7% target for GDP growth in 2015.
Last year GDP grew 7.4%, the slowest in more than 20 years. That contributed to a 2.9% fall in coal consumption, causing carbon emissions from the energy sector to decline.
According to the work plan, China will continue to fight its widespread pollution problem by cracking down harder on companies that violate environmental regulations.
It also said the government is developing legislation for an environmental protection tax.
China will outline longer-term goals and policies in its next five-year plan, which will cover the 2016-2020 period. A draft may be circulated later this month.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org