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China says emissions goal already tough, no cap for now

(Planet Ark, 30 Sep 10) China's goals to slow greenhouse gas growth will be tough and costly, the nation's top climate change official said on Wednesday, presenting an absolute cap and major carbon market in the world's top emitter as distant plans.

China's key policy for fighting global warming is to reduce its "carbon intensity" -- the amount of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, emitted for each dollar of economic activity -- by 40-45 percent by 2020 compared to the 2005 level.

That domestic goal will let China's overall emissions grow with the economy, while shrinking the average amount of carbon dioxide emitted to make each car, build each home and so on.

Xie Zhenhua, a deputy head of China's National Development and Reform Commission, told a news conference the policy will be part of the country's next, 12th five-year economic plan, which officials are preparing for its launch from 2011.

Xie did not say directly whether he saw much hope of China embracing a tougher greenhouse gas goal before 2020.

But his description of the difficulties facing the intensity goal might not encourage other governments and experts that want China to do more soon to curb its emissions.

Planet Ark, 30 Sep 10: China says emissions goal already tough, no cap for now


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