China should reduce carbon intensity: report

BEIJING Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:22pm EST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China should cut its carbon intensity every year by 4 or 5 percent if it wants to achieve a goal of low-carbon development by 2050, state media on Thursday cited a thinktank report as saying.

In September, Chinese President Hu Jintao promised to put a "notable" brake on the country's rapidly rising carbon emissions, but dashed hopes he would unveil a hard target to kickstart stalled climate talks.

Hu, the leader of the world's biggest emitter, told a U.N. summit China would pledge to cut "carbon intensity," or the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each dollar of economic output, over the decade to 2020.

The official China Daily said the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and Development would submit a report to the central government on cutting carbon intensity.

"If China is to meet the target of year-on-year emissions cuts of between 4 and 5 percent, it will need to reduce energy intensity by between 75 and 85 percent by 2050," the newspaper wrote, paraphrasing the report.

"In addition, the proportion of manufacturing industry within the national economic structure would need to be cut from the current 50 percent to around 30 percent by the middle of the century," it added.

"By 2030, more than half of new energy demand should be met by low-carbon energy and by 2050, all new energy should be clean energy," the newspaper said. "In addition, carbon capture and storage technology should be promoted by 2030."

The China Daily said the report was the first time a high-level think-tank had made concrete proposals to cut emissions since Hu's September address.

The think tank said China should reform its environmental tax system.

"It says the time is ripe for the country to begin to collect taxes from companies that emit pollutions and carbon dioxide because of the burning of fossil fuels."

The report comes ahead of a major U.N. climate gathering in Denmark in December.

The United Nations wants the December 7-18 Copenhagen meeting to yield a broader, and tougher, legally binding agreement by all nations to fight climate change but negotiations have largely stalled, dimming hopes of success.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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