How China Thinks China Can Reduce Carbon Emissions

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China has finally admitted it: It’s current approach to growth is unsustainable.

There just aren’t enough fossil fuels on the planet to support the developing country, says a Beijing think-tank, in a new report called “China’s Low Carbon Development Pathways by 2050.”

While this is not an official government report, Reuters says, “coming from a prominent institute that advises officials, it illuminates some of China’s key concerns less than three months before the climate pact negotiations culminate in Copenhagen.”

Chinese scientists laid out three sections to help their country achieve a low carbon solution:

  1. Set greenhouse gas targets: the country should move towards a cap-and-trade market that buys and sells emissions. This would involve setting an absolute limit on emissions, a suggestion that may hurt economic growth.
  2. Create carbon taxes: apply taxes to fossil fuels, natural gas, oil. The scientists propose a tax of 100 yuan ($14.6) for ever metric ton of carbon from 2010, and 200 yuan from 2030.
  3. Energy market reforms: force coal-users to pay for environmental costs, and promote investment in clean energy.

The China Energy Research Institute, who wrote the report, doubts the world can keep its temperature increase below 2 degree Celsius, given the monstrous economic growth and energy consumption of the Asian giant. That ought to worry environmentalists hoping to stave off the effects of global warming.

With enough dedication and money, though, China’s emissions could peak around 2030-2035 and fall to 2005 levels by 2050. If unchecked, its emissions in 2050 will be 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon a year. The world together emits 8.5 billion tonnes now.

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