China think-tank backs gradual CO2 emissions peak

Published 13:50 on June 10, 2015  /  Last updated at 13:50 on June 10, 2015  /  China  /  No Comments

China’s wealthiest regions should ensure their greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2020, aided by a coal cap, while poorer areas should avoid carbon regulations for another decade, a government think-tank said Wednesday.

China’s wealthiest regions should ensure their greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2020, aided by a coal cap, while poorer areas should avoid carbon regulations for another decade, a government think-tank said Wednesday.

As China strives to ensure its GHG emissions peak no later than 2030, Beijing should distribute targets and policies based on each province’s development level, said the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC), a think-tank under the NDRC.

The organisation released two studies under the China Coal Cap Project, an initiative spanning some 20 institutions led by green group Natural Resources Defense Council.

Regions in China’s well-developed east and south that already have some preliminary carbon policies in place – such as the seven pilot carbon markets – should ensure their GHG output peaks in 2020 and falls thereafter, the NCSC said.

Other developed regions in eastern and central China should “stop growing” their emissions in 2020 but have a peak target date in 2025, it proposed.

Less developed regions should aim for a drop in emissions after 2025, while the poorest areas of western China should go unregulated until 2025, the report added.

China should also cap coal consumption at 4 billion tonnes in 2020 and 3.5 billion tonnes in 2030 to help drive emission cuts, it said.

But the think-tank stopped short of proposing a specific year for China’s emissions to crest, outlining instead three scenarios with peaks in 2020, 2025 and 2030.

“Implementing a national coal cap policy as soon as possible will help China to achieve its carbon reduction goals, and will also bring important benefits for reducing smog and air pollution-related illness, and protecting China’s water resources and environment,” said Yang Fuqiang, senior advisor at NRDC, in a statement.

The NCSC noted that an early peak date of 2020 would be challenging for China, while 2030 would threaten the world’s chances of meeting a goal of keeping average global temperature rises below 2C.

China pledged last year to ensure its emissions peak no later than 2030, although a report released earlier this week by the London School of Economics and Political Science suggested China’s emissions would stop growing in 2025 or sooner.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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