China Premier backs continued CO2 cuts in UN climate plan

Published 13:33 on June 12, 2015  /  Last updated at 16:04 on June 12, 2015  /  China, Climate Talks, International  /  No Comments

China will strive to peak its emissions as soon as possible and will continue to cut the carbon intensity of its economy, Premier Li Keqiang said Friday in a speech to officials finalising the nation’s climate pledge to the UN, revealing no unexpected measures to feature in China’s upcoming INDC.

China will strive to peak its emissions as soon as possible and will continue to cut the carbon intensity of its economy, Premier Li Keqiang said Friday in a speech to officials finalising the nation’s climate pledge to the UN, revealing no unexpected measures to feature in China’s upcoming INDC.

Premier Li told the nation’s top climate officials that solving climate change is a crucial issue to China, and that the country stands ready to play its part in global efforts to handle the challenge, according to a government website.

He made the comments as the officials were finalising China’s INDC, which observers expect will be submitted to the UN this month, and possibly as soon as next week.

Li’s main points were in line with what most analysts expect will be in China’s plan:

– China will stick to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, meaning the main responsibility to cut emissions rests with developed countries;
– China will peak its GHG emissions by 2030, but will strive to do it sooner;
– It will continue to reduce its emissions per unit of GDP, while increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix as well as forest coverage;
– It will boost funding to environmental protection industries, and develop high-tech, less-polluting industries;
– China will set up a fund to finance climate protection in African nations and other LDCs under its south-south cooperation programme.

Analysts increasingly expect China’s carbon emissions to peak in the first half of the next decade, but its political leadership remains reluctant to transfer the rapid decline of coal consumption into international promises.

The NDRC, China’s top economic planning agency, has said carbon-intensive industries will not be allowed to increase their absolute emissions.  The government recently ordered manufacturers to reduce their carbon intensity 40% below 2015 levels by 2025.

NDRC think-tanks have also backed an absolute cap on CO2 emissions in China’s next five-year plan, which enters into force next year, and an early NDRC draft of the plan leaked to local media showed officials also backed a cap

But in an international context, China is unlikely to do anything beyond extending its current target to reduce carbon intensity to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2020.

China has already achieved a 33.8% cut on 2005, Li said Friday, but he made no mention of what the 2030 target would be.

Experts have speculated that the 2030 target might be set at around 60-80% below 2005.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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