China aims to peak emissions before 2030 - reports

Will Nichols
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Country pledges to cut carbon intensity by almost two thirds on 2005 levels over next 15 years, according to UN submission

China will reduce carbon emissions from 2030, but aims to do so sooner, according to reports.

In its formal submission to the UN ahead of the crucial climate change summit in Paris, the world's largest emitter will say it plans to reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 per cent from 2005 levels, according to news agency Reuters.

The country also aims to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy consumption to about 20 per cent by 2030.

"China's carbon dioxide emission will peak by around 2030 and China will work hard to achieve the target at an even earlier date," Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said in a statement reported by Reuters after meeting with French President Francois Hollande.

The targets surpass the current goal that requires a reduction of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP of 40 to 45 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

With China now officially submitting its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), following similar plans from the EU and US, the world's three largest emitters have now made climate commitments ahead of the Paris Summit.

According to the Climate Group, China will need to invest 41 trillion RMB ($6.6tr) in low carbon infrastructure to meet its INDC commitments.

"China's INDC is a positive boost to the ongoing international climate change process leading to Paris," comments Changhua Wu, Greater China director of The Climate Group. "China's efforts to align its domestic growth agenda and global climate change agenda is a leading example of how a fundamental shift is needed to grow the economy differently."

UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd also welcomed the Chinese statment, which came on the same day as South Korea confirmed 37 per cent cuts in emissions by 2030 against business as usual.

"Today's announcements are important signals that China, one of the world's largest economies, and South Korea, a major developed economy, are committed to tackling climate change," she added. "e momentum is building for a deal in Paris, and Britain will be working with China, South Korea and others to make sure we're doing all we can to reach our shared goal of avoiding the most dangerous effects of climate change."

However, Nick Mabey, chief executive of E3G, noted China has not yet spelled out how fast emissions will fall after the peak in 2030.

"China's climate action plan reaffirms its commitment to pursue a lower-carbon development pathway driven by domestic interests," he added. "But it can do more. It must now integrate climate change actions into its ambitious development and economic reforms."

China's pledge comes on the same day it agreed a joint commitment with the EU to develop low carbon technologies in order to reduce the impact of harmful greenhouse gas emissions on the environment.

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