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Green Solutions in China
Special> United Nations Climate Change Conference> Green Solutions in China
UPDATED: November 12, 2007 NO.46 NOV.15, 2007
Curbing Global Warming
The 1-trillion-yuan ($134 billion) investment from the Chinese Government in reducing greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in the reduction of over 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the last 15 years

announced plans to raise its forest coverage rate from the current 18.2 percent to 20 percent by 2010.

In the joint proposal between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued at the China-ASEAN Forestry Cooperation Forum on October 30, both sides agreed to reduce the felling of trees and increase forest coverage in order to slow down global warming.

The Chinese Government's keen attention to global warming led to the establishment of a leading panel to work on responding to climate change under the State Council, headed by Premier Wen Jiabao, in June this year. China was also the first developing country to issue a national action plan on climate change, which specifies the country's specific goals, basic principles, key areas and policies for curbing climate change by 2010.

The Chinese Government is also combining its efforts in curbing climate change with the implementation of sustainable development strategies and the construction of a resource-saving, environment-friendly and innovation-oriented society.

"As a developing country, China is shouldering more and more responsibility in curbing climate change and reducing greenhouse gases," said Gao.

Goals for next five years

China will reduce the emission of nearly 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year by 2010, about 2.5 times of the current capacity of 400 million tons.

Through promotion of energy preservation technologies, energy consumption per unit of GDP in 2010 will be 20 percent lower than that of 2005, which can be transformed into reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Policies leveraging the development of metallurgy, construction material and chemical industries have been issued to develop recycling and raise energy efficiency, such as stabilizing the emission of nitrous oxide in production at the level of 2005 by 2010.

The government has taken measures to expand the use of biogas and control the growing speed of methane emissions.

"The key measure is to overhaul the energy mix," said Gao.

China is one of the few countries to rely on coal as its leading fuel source. Of China's total primary energy consumption in 2005, totaling 2.233 billion tons of coal equivalent, coal consumption made up 68.9 percent, petroleum 21 percent and other energies including natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar power occupied 10.1 percent.

In contrast, of the global primary energy consumption of the same year, coal consumption accounted for merely 27.8 percent, petroleum 36.4 percent and natural gas, hydropower and nuclear power totaled 35.8 percent. China's heavy reliance on coal consumption has made the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions a particularly daunting challenge for China.

China's national action plan on climate change stated how the reduction of 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2010 can be realized. The exploitation of hydropower could reduce emissions by 500 million tons; the development of nuclear power could cut emissions by 50 million tons; upgrading thermal power generation facilities and dismissing small thermal power units could reduce emissions of 110 million tons; the expanded use of coal-seam gas could reduce emissions of 200 million tons; the development of bio-energy could reduce emissions by 30 million tons; and the development of wind power, solar power, terrestrial heat and wave power could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by another 60 million tons.

The Central Government has encouraged and designed incentives for financial institutions loaning money to projects of environmental protection and pollution reduction as well as offering taxation incentives to these projects. As for high-pollution factories and high-energy consuming-companies, the State Environmental Protection Administration and NDRC have advised financial institutions against loaning money to these companies.

Seeking international support

Gao said China's backward production of energy and low efficiency in energy use are the two reasons for China's colossal greenhouse gas emissions.

Technologies in energy exploitation, transformation and transportation in China lag far behind advanced industrial countries. Meanwhile, backward production facilities still account for a large percentage of China's key industrial sectors. For example, energy consumption per ton of steel in small companies is about 200 kg of coal equivalent larger than that of big companies that produce both iron and steel.

Therefore, technological upgrades will play an important role in China's efforts to curb climate change. China also badly needs international technological cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the National Climate Change Program, China needs technical support on atmosphere observation, ocean and terrestrial ecosystem protection, earth resource and ocean resource satellite remote sensing, climate change monitoring and testing and calculation in climate models. China is in need of international cooperation in these fields.

China is engaged in a series of large-scale infrastructure construction projects, which demand the installment of greenhouse gas reduction technologies, such as high-efficiency low-pollution thermal power technology, nuclear power technology and renewable energy technology. The failure to install these technologies would lead to high emissions of greenhouse gases from these facilities in the coming decades.

The introduction of technologies in these fields from abroad will greatly boost China's capacity to curb climate change, said Gao.

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