Wednesday, August 22, 2012
On Tuesday, China's State Council announced plans to spend 2.37 trillion yuan ($375.6 billion) on new energy and environmental measures designed to help meet its target of reducing energy intensity to 16 percent below 2010 levels by 2015. These commitments form part of China's Twelth Five-Year Plan, which runs from 2011 to 2015. According to Reuters, "steel producers must reduce their energy use per unit of production by a quarter over the five years, coal-fired power plants by 8 percent and cement manufacturers by 3 percent" under the State Council Plan.
These are impressive new commitments, but they also highlight the big picture problem. Despite major strides at energy intensity reduction, government officials expect China's greenhouse gas emissions to peak in 2030. This continued rise in total emissions even as intensity declines over the next 18 years is a serious concern. And yet major inequities persist, which are clear when China's per capita emissions are compared with those of other developed country major emitters.