China regions to have binding CO2 targets: official

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government will impose binding emission targets on its regions as part of its efforts to meet 2020 national carbon intensity goals, a senior Chinese climate official said on Wednesday.

Su Wei, the director general of the climate change department at the National Development and Reform Commission, said a working group would be set up to draw up specific targets and policies, Thomson Reuters affiliate Point Carbon reported.

“Since China has a binding carbon intensity target, each region will have a sub-target and the major carbon-intensive industry sectors should have their own responsibilities,” Su was quoted as saying.

He said China was currently studying ways of introducing a domestic carbon trading platform but did not give a timetable for when a market could be introduced, saying that “certain steps” had to be taken before the country was ready.

China aims to reduce 2005 levels of carbon intensity -- or the amount of carbon dioxide produced per unit of GDP growth -- by 40-45 percent by 2020.

High energy consuming industries across China were forced to restrict output in the second half of 2010 as regions sought to meet their mandatory 2006-2010 efficiency goals, but Su said such methods were not the way forward.

“We saw extreme actions in 2010 like switching off power and limiting electricity supply. If we stick to the same methods in the following five years we will see abuse, such as statistical fraud,” Su said.

China said last October that it would study the use of “market mechanisms” to cut its carbon emissions, and pilot carbon markets are expected to be introduced in sectors such as steel, cement and power generation within five years.

Reporting by David Stanway, Editing by Jacqueline Wong