May 25, 2010 / 4:29 AM / 10 years ago

China wants energy goals reached before Cancun talks

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will aim to meet its five-year energy saving and emission reduction goals through 2010 ahead global climate talks at the end of the year, the country’s top climate negotiator said.

“We would lose the trust from the international community and be pressured during the global climate talks in Mexico at the end of this year if we could not fulfill the goals,” Xie Zhenhua, who is also deputy head of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission, told a recent government meeting.

The comments from the May 19 meeting were published on the NDRC website on Monday.

Environmental ministers around the world are set to meet for the next U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10 after the Copenhagen summit in December 2009 fell short of a binding deal.

China has vowed to cut energy intensity — energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product — by 20 percent by 2010 from the levels in 2005 and cut two key pollution measures, sulphur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand, by 10 percent during the same period.

It also pledged ahead of the Copenhagen summit that it would cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each unit of national income by 40-45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

But energy intensity actually rose by an annual 3.2 percent in the first three months of this year after falling 14.38 percent in the previous four years, because of fast growth in energy intensive sectors including electricity, steel, non-ferrous metals, construction materials and petrochemicals and restarts of some outdated capacity.

Beijing was alarmed by the recent energy efficiency losses, and on May 5 Premier Wen Jiabao directed the government to step up efforts to ensure the 2010 goals would be met.

As part of the measures, China will shut down another 10 gigawatts of small and less efficient coal-fired power generators by the third quarter of this year after closing 60.06 GW in the past four years, ahead of an earlier plan of shuttering 50 GW’s worth in the five years through 2010.

Beijing will raise power tariff surcharges for some energy intensive firms by 50 to 100 percent from June 1, reducing power price discounts to certain industries including aluminum, calcium carbide and ferroalloy and imposing punitive high power rates on inefficient firms, in renewed and hastened efforts to curb expansion in energy-guzzling and polluting industries.

China’s central government will organize checks beginning in June to stop unauthorized power price discounts and to make sure its power pricing policies are being followed across the country.

Reporting by Jim Bai and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Ken Wills

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