China talks about new limits on coal and carbon but 2015 targets are weaker than last year targets

China is likely to soon begin a campaign to limit the absolute amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by certain industries in certain regions, a senior climate official told a forum on Wednesday. Sun Zhen, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission, said the campaign will be a step beyond the country’s current goal of curbing its carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon it releases for each unit of its GDP. He also said the policy will lay the foundation for carbon-trading programs.

Reuters reported that officials have settled on a total energy cap of 4.1bn tonnes of coal equivalent (TCE) by 2015 – a level more than 25% higher than last year.

In 2010, China talked about limiting coal use to 3.8 billion tons in 2015.

By 2020, China plans to reduce the amount of carbon it emits for each unit of its GDP by 40 to 45 percent below its 2005 level.

The National Development and Reform Commission, which deals with issues pertaining to climate change, has said it plans to introduce regional cap-and-trade programs to control carbon emissions by 2013.

Some experts expressed doubts over whether the plan is feasible, especially at a time when several provinces are struggling to meet an increasing demand for energy.

For instance, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is experiencing its worst electricity shortage in 20 years, finding that it needs the capacity to produce 4 gigawatts more than it can now.

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