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China pledges to raise renewable energy use
5/9/2007 9:40

China will increase its use of renewable resources to 15 percent of total energy consumption by 2020 in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pursue sustainable economic growth, according to a national plan published yesterday.

China's renewable energy use is expected to total 600 million tons of coal equivalent in 2020, compared with 166 million tons in 2005, or 7.5 percent of the country's total energy consumption.

The plan is estimated to cost China two trillion yuan (US$266.7 billion) during the 2006-2020 period, said Chen Deming, vice minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission.

As coal currently supplies most of China's energy needs and causes serious pollution, the plan highlights the development of hydropower, wind power, biomass and solar energy, which will enable the country to develop in an economical, clean and safe way, officials said.

Premier Wen Jiabao said earlier this year that "the current macro-control policy must focus on energy conservation and emissions reduction; otherwise China's natural resources and environment will not be able to sustain economic development."

By 2020, the country's installed hydropower capacity is expected to reach 300 million kilowatts, wind power capacity 30 million kw, biomass power 30 million kw and solar power 1.8 million kw, according to the plan published by the NDRC.

China will make great efforts to cope with climate change, though its carbon dioxide emissions accounted for only nine percent of the world's total from 1950 to 2002, Chen said. The country's per-capita emissions were 87 percent of the world average in 2004, he said.

Carbon dioxide is produced by burning coal, oil and gas for heat, power and transportation and is believed to be a major contributor to global warming.

"The international community should give China the right to and room for development," Chen said.

"China has emitted a bit more carbon dioxide because developed countries have transferred some of their energy-consuming industries to China," the official said.

"As far as I know, the European Union plans to raise the ratio of renewable energy in its total energy consumption to 20 percent by 2020, and no other big powers have such plans."

China will also provide electricity to remote regions and alleviate fuel shortages in rural areas by using renewable energy.

By 2020, about 300 million rural people will use biogas as their main fuel, when China is expected to use 10 million tons of bio-ethanol and two million tons of bio-diesel to replace 10 million tons of oil annually.