China now on track to meet 2015 emissions targets -state planner

Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:01am EDT

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BEIJING, April 23 (Reuters) - China is now back on track to
meet a series of mandatory targets to cut pollution and improve
energy efficiency by 2015, after falling behind expectations due
to strong economic growth over 2011-12, a state planning agency
official said on Wednesday.
    Decades of unrestrained growth has hit China's environment
hard, and news of hazardous pollution levels in food has become
common in recent years. Pollution has also triggered dozens of
protests in the world's second-largest economy.
    China has promised to tackle the severe pollution of its
air, water and soil, but it admitted late last year that it was
struggling to meet its energy and pollution targets for the 12th
five-year plan period ending in 2015. 
    Central and local government authorities are now adopting
tougher measures and have also developed more effective
incentive mechanisms, putting China back on course to achieve
its targets, said Xu Lin, director of the planning office at the
National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
    "We now have an optimistic attitude towards completing these
targets requested in the 12th five-year plan."
    Over the 2011-2015 period, China aims to cut energy
intensity - the amount of energy consumed per unit of economic
growth - by 16 percent and the amount of carbon emissions per
unit of GDP by 17 percent. It also promised to raise the share
of non-fossil fuels in its overall energy mix to 11.4 percent.
    By the end of 2013, energy intensity fell 9.03 percent and
carbon intensity fell 10.68 percent from 2010 levels, while
non-fossil fuels supplied 9.8 percent of China's total energy
needs last year, the NDRC said in a report to parliament this
week.
    The inability to meet environment goals over the 2011-2012
period had raised the risk of China facing a repeat of the
problems of 2010, when local governments forced dozens of
industrial firms to shut their operations in a last-ditch bid to
meet their end-of-year energy targets.        
    NDRC official Xu said targets in the next five-year plan
covering the 2016-2020 period were expected to be even tougher.
    "It is impossible for the new plan not to reflect the
demands of ordinary people and those demands are getting higher
and higher," he said at a briefing.          
    Following is a table showing China's 2015 environmental and
energy saving targets, and the progress made by 2013, according
to NDRC figures published this week.
                  2011-2015   Cut by end        2014*       2015*
                     Target      of 2013               
 Energy/GDP unit       -16%       -9.03%    more than   more than
                                                -3.9%       -3.9%
 CO2/GDP unit          -17%      -10.68%          -4%   more than
                                                            -3.5%
 Chemical Oxygen        -8%        -7.8%          -2%         -2%
 Demand                                                
 Sulphur dioxide        -8%        -9.9%          -2%         -2%
 Ammonia               -10%        -7.1%          -2%         -2%
 Nitrogen oxides       -10%        -2.0%          -5%         -5%
 *2014-2015 cuts as forecast by NDRC.

 (Reporting by Xiaoyi Shao and David Stanway; Editing by Himani
Sarkar)
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