Sun Cuihua, deputy director of the climate change office at the
National Development and Reform Commission, said it would be a
simplification to suggest China would impose an absolute cap on
greenhouse gas emissions from 2016.
No decision had yet been taken on a cap and the timing of such a
measure was under discussion, she said. Several options were being
considered and China would choose policies in accordance with its
conditions and stage of development.
"Our understanding of the word 'cap' is different from developed
countries," Sun told a conference.
An emission cap, whether imposed economy-wide or only on enterprises
covered by a national carbon market, could be adjusted incrementally
to allow for China's status as a developing country with growing
energy consumption, she said.
"Ours will probably be an incremental cap and we are currently
researching all kinds of options," she said.
Sun's comments are likely to cool hopes in international climate
negotiations that China could significantly change the base lines by
announcing sooner-than-anticipated CO2 cuts.
She spoke after He Jiankun, a climate change adviser to the
government, said last week China would cap its emissions when the
next five-year plan enters into force in 2016.[nL3N0OK3WX]
Even though He said emissions would continue to grow until 2030,
some foreign observers understood that to mean that emissions would
start to decrease soon.
Experts say an emissions cap would likely be set at a level that
would not impede growth, but that it would ensure emissions would
not rise beyond a specific level, even with strong growth.
Xie Zhenhua, China's top climate official, said last week the
country would seek to cap its emissions "as soon as possible" but
that experts disagreed on when greenhouse gases would
Emissions have nearly quadrupled since 1990 as the coal-fuelled
economy has grown by double-digits almost every year. China accounts
for more than a quarter of total emissions.
DEVELOPED NATIONS AWAIT MEASURES
Big emitting developed nations such as Australia, Canada, Japan and
the United States are reluctant to commit to binding emission
reduction targets in a global treaty unless major emerging
economies, such as China and India, also take steps.
[to top of second column]
China pledged in 2009 to reduce its emissions per unit of GDP to
40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, but has failed to commit to
setting an overall limit on emissions.
Driven by a desire to reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports and
modernise its export-oriented economy, China has launched a series
of initiatives to curb the rise in emissions.
The centrepiece of policy has been a plan to launch a national
carbon market later this decade. China has already set up six
regional CO2 markets in regions such as Beijing, Guangdong and
A seventh and last pilot scheme was to begin in southwestern
Chongqing this week, but Sun said the opening date had been pushed
back to June 19, without giving a reason.[ID:nL4N0OQ1F6]
China's air pollution crisis has routinely put major cities under a
cover of smog. Now seen as a major health threat, it has added
momentum to emissions initiatives.
China has in the past year banned construction of collieries in key
regions, ordered the closure of thousands of inefficient factories
and introduced stricter fuel standards for vehicles.
(Additional reportint by Kathy Chen; Writing by Stian Reklev;
Editing by Ron Popeski)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.