China state planner vows crackdown on projects with high energy use

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A man collects recyclables from an alley as smoke billows from the chimney of a factory in rural Gaoyi county, known for its ceramics production, near Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, China, December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File photo

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BEIJING, Aug 17 (Reuters) - China will curb development of projects that use large amounts of energy and have high carbon emissions, the state planner said on Tuesday, as the country struggles to meet its climate pledges with many regions falling short of their targets for the year.

The world's second-largest economy has pledged to bring down its carbon emission to a peak by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060 and is laying out stricter rules for companies and provinces to help achieve those goals.

However, nine provinces and regions in China, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan and Jiangsu, increased their energy consumption on an annual basis in the first half of the year, Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said at a news conference.

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"The national energy conservation situation is very severe," Meng said.

Only 10 out of 30 mainland Chinese regions achieved their goals to cut energy consumption and energy intensity, or the amount of energy consumed per unit of economic growth, in the first six months of this year, according to NDRC's statement on Tuesday.

That shows the same result as the assessment for the first quarter this year, indicating no outstanding improvement after Beijing's previous warnings. read more

The NDRC has stopped reviewing proposals in those areas for new high energy-consuming projects that don't have the support of the national government for the rest of the year to try to meet annual targets, Meng said.

To meet China's climate commitment, the state planner also recently urged local governments to reduce more than 350 planned projects, and pledged to take down those that have failed to meet government requirements,she said.

While some regions approved high energy-consumption projects illegally, the NDRC noted there are other industries and companies that set overly ambitious goals, while some financial institutions had cut credit lines for coal power projects.

The state planner said it is working with relevant departments to formulate work plans and to ensure "no deviation" from central government policy.

China's Politburo said last month it would pursue its peak carbon plans in an "orderly" manner and correct any "campaign-style" carbon reduction efforts. read more

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Reporting by Min Zhang, Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Tom Hogue and Anil D'Silva

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