China unveils five year climate goals

China’s latest Five-Year Program will include plans to create a carbon market that is likely to emerge as the world’s largest emissions trading scheme.

In a statement released after Friday’s Chinese national leadership team meeting on combating climate change, the government announced that it will include targets to curb carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption in its new plan, which will run from 2011 to 2015.

According to reports from Chinese news agency Xinhua, the government confirmed it would stand by targets announced at last year’s Copenhagen Climate Summit to cut the country’s carbon intensity by 40 to 45 per cent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.

It also pledged to make “progressive efforts” to establish a carbon market, work towards improving energy efficiency, and further develop low-carbon technology.

“China, as a responsible country, always supports jointly coping with the challenges of climate change through solid and effective international cooperation,” the statement read.

It also contained pledges to strengthen the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

Over the past few years China has been progressively stepping-up its environmental efforts, rapidly developing its renewable energy sector and promising to cut its carbon levels.

The country has also moved closer to the US and UK by agreeing trade and technology partnerships, while just last week Vice Premier Li Keqiang vowed that the country would embrace low-carbon development and improve efforts to better use natural resources and protecting the environment.

The statement comes days before the start of the Cancun climate change summit and is likely to be welcomed by diplomats as evidence of China’s commitment to deliver progress at the talks.

However, fears are also mounting that the stand off between China and the US over emissions targets could overshadow the two week talks.

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