China energy intensity falls nearly 4% during 2017

The energy intensity of China’s economy dropped 3.8 per cent over the first nine months of 2017. And China’s carbon intensity - the level of carbon emissions per unit of economic growth – also fell about 4 per cent over the same period.

This is putting the country on track to meet its five-year targets, a senior official said. China has vowed to cut 2015 levels of carbon intensity by 18 percent by the end of 2020, part of a longer-term pledge to bring total greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by “around 2030”.

Li Gao, the head of the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission, announced that China had made clear progress in decoupling economic growth from CO2.

According to a report published on the website of China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), Li said China completed the launch of a nationwide carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) during December. China’s national ETS was originally scheduled to go into operation during 2016, and was then delayed to autumn 2017 as market designers struggled to handle problems like emissions data accuracy.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate official, said during recent global climate negotiations in Paris that the scheme had been held up awaiting final cabinet approval.

Several studies have suggested that China is on track to meet its emissions peak target well ahead of schedule, with Chinese scientists saying in a recent paper in the Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal that China’s CO2 could hit its maximum in 2024.

A leading Chinese think tank has concluded that national energy consumption - the source of around three quarters of China’s carbon emissions - may also have peaked, and is starting to decline year-on-year.

China’s first all-electric zero-emissions cargo ship, launched with great  ecological fanfares, is going to be used exclusively to transport coal.

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