China Charts ‘Clean Industrial Revolution’ to Power its New Economy

China is starting to act positively on international climate targets though challenges remain. A new report by The Climate Group commissioned by the HSBC Climate Change Centre of Excellence, says the Chinese government’s decision to put a ‘clean industrial revolution’ at the heart of the nation’s 12th Five Year Plan will deliver real carbon savings that could begin to curb national emissions, unlock new investment opportunities and ensure China is seen to be “pulling its weight” on international climate targets.

The report is titled ‘Delivering Low Carbon Growth – A Guide to the 12th Five Year Plan’.

China is now the world’s second biggest economy and biggest greenhouse gas emitter, and the report findings show how the country’s new national development strategy will combine ambitious growth targets – including a 7% GDP annual growth goal – with a need to rapidly de-carbonize its coal-based economy.

For the first time in a FYP, China has set a national carbon intensity reduction target of 17% and intends to cut energy intensity by 16% by 2015. The FYP will also boost investment for seven strategic new industry sectors vital to national competitiveness and sustainability paving the way for a more efficient economy and creating higher value industries in alternative energy, low carbon transport and energy efficient products. 

Critically, the report concludes that, although real challenges remain, the pace of deployment of low carbon energy compares favourably with International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2010 scenario for stabilising atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at 450ppm by 2100, suggesting that China is “pulling its weight” relative to international expectations in this regard.

Mark Kenber, chief executive of The Climate Group, comments: “It is hugely symbolic that China is putting green growth at the core of its national development plan and should be a wake-up call to Europe and North America policy-makers that a clean tech race is well under way. This bold policy plan unequivocally aims to set China on a clear low carbon trajectory and will ensure the country remains a major global hub for clean energy technologies for years to come. However, unabated coal consumption remains a significant reality check on China’s low carbon vision and, as with other countries, a comprehensive long-term approach backed by tough action on the ground will be needed to ensure that China’s green growth strategy delivers on its undoubted promise.”

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