China sets ambitious energy targets

China has set ambitious targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy. While this could have a negative impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the cost would be offset by the massive health benefits.

China has announced that it plans to set 2030 as the deadline for carbon emissions to peak while also raising the share of non-fossil fuels in energy production to about 20 per cent, reports the South China Morning Post. But some regard this as an overly ambitious target, including Teng Fei, an associate professor at Tsinghua University, who conducted a study on the impact of a 2030-carbon peak on China’s economy. According to him, it would be more realistic to let carbon emissions peak no earlier than 2040.

If carbon emissions peak by 2030, China could incur as much as a 1 per cent loss in its annual GDP growth, argues Teng. However, this cost could easily be offset by the corresponding environmental and health benefits, he adds. Air pollution from burning coal caused more than 670,000 premature deaths nationwide in 2012, reports the South China Morning Post.

The government’s target of expanding the share of non-fossil fuels in the energy mix to 20 per cent will require the country to produce an additional 800 to 1,000 more gigawatts of clean energy by 2030. According to the BP Energy Outlook 2035, the share of renewable energy in China’s energy mix is not expected to exceed 10 per cent in 2015, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.


Photo credit. NAIT, flickr/Creative Commons

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