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Published on March 16th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor


China Sets 1st Energy Consumption Cap

March 16th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon

China Creates Its First Energy Consumption Cap

The government of China has, for the first time ever, set a target to keep energy consumption under a specific figure as part of its most recent 5-year plan, according to reports.

The plan is apparently to keep the country’s energy consumption under 5 billion metric tons of standard coal equivalent by the year 2020. No doubt, part of this aim is the intent to limit the growth of the country’s air pollution problems, as well as the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions (the highest in the world currently).

“Energy consumption will be less than 5 billion metric tons if China’s structural adjustment goes smoothly,” stated Xi Fengming, an expert on carbon emissions at the China Academy of Sciences. Fengming noted that the launch of a nationwide carbon emissions market would make the cap easier to realize.

Reuters provides more:

Total energy consumption was 4.3 billion metric tons of standard coal in 2015, up 0.9% from the previous year, according to the most recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The average annual growth rate was 2.3% over 2012-2015, down from 6.4% in 2005-2012, the bureau said. With China determined to curb pollution and emissions, experts expressed disappointment at the failure to include a coal consumption cap. Coal consumption in China fell 2.2% last year as a result of stricter pollution controls as well as a downturn in demand.

In a separate report published ahead of the opening of the full session of parliament on Saturday, the National Development and Reform Commission promised to limit growth of coal production and coal-fired power generation this year. China is aiming to eliminate as much as 500 million metric tons of surplus coal capacity from the market in the next five years. China also aims to cut carbon intensity – the amount of emissions per unit of GDP growth – by 18% over the same period. As part of its global climate change commitments, China has already pledged to reduce carbon intensity to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2020.

An energy policy researcher at China Energy Research Society (CERS), Zhou Dadi, commented: “We should see this (5 billion metric tons) target as a ceiling rather than a floor. Maybe we can achieve better results.”

CERS published a report recently predicting energy consumption in China to hit 4.8 billion metric tons of standard coal equivalent by 2020, and 5.3 billion metric tons before 2031.

Image by Jesús Arpón (some rights reserved)

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