Date
25 September 2017
US President Barack Obama shakes hand with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping after sealing a deal on carbon emission cuts. Photo: AFP
US President Barack Obama shakes hand with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping after sealing a deal on carbon emission cuts. Photo: AFP

China can achieve its emissions goal if it ‘works hard’: expert

The carbon emission reduction goal set by China in an agreement with the United States is achievable if authorities make sincere efforts, according to an expert.

Zhou Dadi, former chief of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, told the National Business Daily that he is confident that China can reach the target, and that the nation “can achieve even higher goals if we work really hard”.

Under a deal unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama at the end of the APEC summit this week, Beijing has promised to cap its greenhouse gas output by 2030 or earlier if possible, and boost the use of non-fossil fuels to 20 percent by that time.

Meanwhile, the US has pledged to cut its emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025, from the 2005 levels.

Last year, non-fossil fuel accounted for about 9.8 percent of China’s primary energy consumption, according to government data.

The China Energy Research Society (CERS) believes it will be a challenging task to boost the proportion of non-fossil fuel usage to the targeted level.

In the first three years of the 12th Five-Year Plan, which covers the period 2011 to 2015, the country completed only 43 percent of its target set for 2015 which requires non-fossil fuel usage to be increased 11.4 percent, CERS noted in a report in May. 

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday quoted unnamed analyst as saying that the growth ratio is about one percentage point per year at present.

That said, the “historic agreement” represents “a shift in the willingness of China to come forward with a date” on peak emissions, the paper said, citing Alex Wang, an expert on China environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The World Bank said on Thursday that it welcomes the initiative of China and the US to map out concrete goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

“By coming out early and standing together, they create momentum as we move toward an international agreement in Paris in 2015,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

The world’s efforts to clamp down on climate change will converge in Paris at the end of 2015 as member states gather at the 21st annual session of the UN Climate Change Conference.

The ultimate goal is to formulate a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, in line with the second implementation phase of the landmark Kyoto Protocol.

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MY/JP/RC

EJ Insight reporter

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