(Refiles to give full name of Su Wei)
BEIJING Aug 18 China is researching
implementation of an absolute carbon dioxide cap in a number of
pilot regions, a National Development and Reform Commission
official said on Thursday.
"We are choosing certain regions that have the right
conditions to implement controls over total carbon emissions,"
Su Wei, director general of the NDRC's climate change office,
told an industry conference.
He did not say which regions would be part of the pilot
scheme, but added that he hoped regional caps would be the first
step in the gradual establishment of a national emissions
Beijing has pledged to reduce carbon intensity -- the amount
of carbon dioxide produced per unit of GDP -- by 17 percent over
the next five years, and has also committed to using "market
mechanisms" to reach its targets.
"In reducing emissions in the future, more policies will
rely on market methods," Su said.
Dozens of proposals have been made, including trading energy
consumption quotas between cities, and imposing absolute carbon
caps on energy-guzzling sectors such as steel, power and cement.
Su said China was also committed to setting up voluntary
carbon trading mechanisms in the next five years.
But the country faced many difficulties because it lacked
the necessary legal infrastructure, and standards and monitoring
systems, as well as specialist staff to set up a carbon
emissions market, Su said.
"There is a kind of misunderstanding that carbon trading
just requires the establishment of a trading exchange -- this is
a very narrow view," he said.
The State Council, China's cabinet, has drawn up a
comprehensive low-carbon "five-year plan" that is expected to
include a nationwide energy consumption cap of 4.1 billion
tonnes of standard coal.
However, Beijing has been wary of imposing an absolute
national greenhouse gas cap, saying its priority as a developing
country is still economic growth, and that industrialised
nations should continue to bear most of the burden when it comes
to cutting global emissions.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, developing countries are not
obliged to make absolute cuts in CO2 emissions, a principle
known as "common but differentiated responsibilities".
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Chris Lewis and Anthony