BEIJING (Reuters) - China will not repeat the mistakes made last year as it strives to meet its “tough” new 2011-2015 emissions and energy saving targets, the head of the country’s state planning agency said on Sunday.
Last year, China’s industrial heartlands were hit hard by last-minute efforts to meet a mandatory 2006-2010 target to improve energy efficiency by 20 percent.
“In order to meet their eleventh five-year plan targets, some regions took a series of extreme actions, even restricting power supplies -- this was not our original intention and this kind of method is not appropriate,” said Zhang Ping, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Private steel mills in Hebei province told Reuters in December that they were given a day’s notice by local authorities before having to shut operations completely.
“This was the first five-year plan to have such targets so we lacked experience,” Zhang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.
“We will certainly not make this error in our work again.”
Zhang said the 2006-2010 target was “basically met,” with energy intensity -- the amount of energy required per unit of GDP growth -- dropping by 19.1 percent over the period.
China has already pledged to reduce 2005 levels of carbon intensity by 40-45 percent by 2020.
To meet the goal, which it describes as “binding,” it aims to reduce energy intensity by a further 16 percent before the end of 2015, with carbon intensity also slated to drop 17 percent, Premier Wen Jiabao said in his annual report to parliament on Saturday.
But rather than relying on direct “administrative” orders, Beijing is also encouraging provinces to devise “market mechanisms” that will help them meet the targets. The NDRC saying in its latest annual report that it would set up pilot programs for an energy consumption cap-and-trade system.
Guangdong province in the southeast has already drawn up plans that will cap energy consumption in cities in the Pearl River Delta region and allow them to trade energy credits with one other.
Reporting by David Stanway, Editing by Daniel Magnowski