The Chinese central government on Friday approved a plan that maps out major climate change goals to be met by 2020.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, gave a green light to the plan, which was proposed by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s economic planner. A statement released on the State Council’s website urged the NDRC to carry out the plan.
China has pledged to reduce its carbon emission intensity, namely emissions per unit of GDP, by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level. It will also aim to bring the proportion of non-fossil fuels to about 15 percent of its total primary energy consumption.
Other targets include increasing forest coverage by 40 million hectares within the next five years.
The government will speed up efforts to establish a carbon emission permit market, under the plan, which also calls for deepened international cooperation under the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” equity and respective capability.
The State Council said local governments and departments at all levels should recognize the significance and urgency in dealing with climate change and give higher priority to action on this issue.
China’s release of the action plan came just before a climate summit to be held at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will attend.
Xie Zhenhua, deputy chief of the NDRC and the country’s top official on climate change, told a press conference that the plan was concrete action by China to participate in the global process to tackle climate change.
By the end of last year, China had reduced carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 28.56 percent from 2005, which was equivalent to saving the world 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, Xie said.
At the end of 2013, China’s consumption ratio of non-fossil energy to primary energy stood at 9.8 percent. Forest growing stock had increased by 1.3 trillion cubic meters from 2005 to two trillion cubic meters, seven years ahead of schedule, according to the official.
In the first nine months of 2014, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 4.2 percent year on year and carbon intensity was cut by about 5 percent, both representing the largest drops in years, he said.
As a developing country, China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. With the plan, the country has showed its confidence in achieving its green goals.