Sunday, November 29, 2009

Debate among Chinese intellectual over emissions cut target

Beijing has unilaterally and voluntarily announced to cut 'carbon intensity' to per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent compared with the level of 2005. Carbon intensity is average emission rate of a given pollutant from a given source relative to the intensity of a specific activity. Thus, in cut in relation with GDP signifies cut in carbon emission emitted in producing energy required to achieve per unit of GDP. No doubt it has placed China at higher and respectable position in global politics. Although, environmentalist welcomed the decision and expects similar responses from other major powers, economist and academician debate the decision.

Wu Changhua, the Greater China director of the Britain-headquartered non-governmental organization Climate Group, deemed it as "a significant and meaningful step," Though, he accepts that "The cost (in achieving the emissions cut target) will be huge."

The ENGOs (Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations) shaw target declared by China as "greater contribution" to the world in addressing climate change, Chen Ying, a senior research fellow of the Research Center for Sustainable Development under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told Xinhua.

However, Qi Jianguo (an economist also with the CASS) see the the target as "great pressure" on China's development. He further highlights that in 2020, China's gross domestic product will at least double that of now, so will emissions of greenhouse gases. But the target means the emissions in 2020 have to be roughly equivalent to the present level. Thus, it will presents a great challenge before China.

Wu said China had already closed down many small energy-consuming thermal power plants, without complaining to the international community or seeking international financial support.

Therefore, it's quite, Wu further says, difficult to cut more emissions so long as the most inefficient plants have been stopped and technological upgrading for existing plants would cost a lot.

(Interview from Xinhua)

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