China: Getting serious about cutting emissions?

As China’s national legislature opens up its annual meeting, issues of reducing carbon emissions and energy use are squarely on the table, perhaps signaling that incoming Premier Li Keqiang will push harder on environmental and energy concerns than his predecessor Wen Jiabao.

China’s State Council reportedly could spend $380 billion from 2010-2015 on such measures, and the nation plans to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent and carbon intensity by 17 percent over that period.

China continues to be a major player in renewable energy, both as a growing consumer and as a supplier both domestically and worldwide. The country’s most recent renewable energy adoption target was 49 GW to be added in 2013, spread across hydropower and wind and solar energy.

The recent, and heavily publicized, smog issues in China are the latest reasons the country is in the spotlight for energy and environmental quality topics.

Nevertheless, “what China desperately needs now are new low-cost clean energy technologies that can be implemented quickly and on a scale that competes with coal-fired power plants (and the prospect of LNG imports from the U.S.),” wrote Louis Schwartz from China Strategies, just over a month ago. Other reports suggest no game-changing technology or policy is needed, only adherence to rules set forth by other nations (including the U.S.) and its own resources.


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