China's new infrastructure still relies on carbon-intensive supply chains - Greenpeace

Workers walk through the Yujiapu financial centre, in Tianjin
Workers walk through the Yujiapu financial centre, in Tianjin, China February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - A report from environmental group Greenpeace found that new Chinese infrastructure still relies on carbon-intensive supply chains, though they emitted less carbon than traditional infrastructure last year.

New infrastructure includes 5G technology, artificial intelligence, data centres, electric vehicles and its infrastructure and high-speed railways, said the report, which was released on Wednesday.

"The majority of new infrastructure's emissions come from upstream and downstream industries. As long as the whole new infrastructure supply chain relies on China's high-emissions energy mix, cutting emissions here will be a struggle," said Zhang Kai, deputy program director in Greenpeace East Asia's Beijing office.

"This impact needs to be addressed holistically."

China, the world's largest coal consumer and steel producer, is the biggest emitter of climate-warming gases globally. It aims for its carbon emissions to peak by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Beijing has not published any overall scheme to lower emissions, but local governments and industries such as steel have their own carbon pledges. read more

According to the Greenpeace report, emissions from China's new infrastructure industries are 7.24% lower than in traditional infrastructure.

While policies on new infrastructure have improved, there are few considerations for "greenness and inclusiveness," said the report, adding that further policy support is needed.

"More detailed development norms and industry guidelines still need to be drafted," it said.

"In order to achieve better energy saving and emission reduction effects, investment decision makers of new infrastructure should focus on energy efficiency optimization in the supply chain's upstream section."

Reporting by Emily Chow and David Stanway; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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