China is formulating a plan for development of renewable energy, as pressure mounts from Washington for lowered green house emissions to fight the specter of a warming planet.
The country set its goal of deriving 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, according to vice-chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission Xiaoqiang Zhang. Beijing says the renewable sources include large hydropower projects and nuclear plants.
“For sure we will exceed the 15 % target, and we will at least reach 18 %.” Zhang told reporters in Europe. “Personally I think we could reach the target of having renewables provide 20 % of total energy consumption, he added.
The Guardian reported Zhang as saying that a significant part of China's economic stimulus package would be invested into low-carbon investment, and that accompanying reforms would see increased demand for renewable energy.
Due to the impact of the global financial crisis, people are all talking about green and sustainable development, Zhang told the paper.
Enterprises and government at all levels are showing more enthusiasm for the development of solar for power generation, and the Chinese government is now considering rolling out more stimulus policies for the development of solar power.
Zhang was speaking in London on a day China came under increased pressure from Washington to do more cut its emissions.
US climate envoy Todd Stern met with top Chinese officials in Beijing this week to press for a commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions under the next treaty on global warming, to be hammered out in Copenhagen in December.
David Sandalow, the US assistant secretary of energy, said the continuation of business as usual in China would result in a 2.7C rise in temperatures even if every other country slashed greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.
China can and will need to do much more if the world is going to have any hope of containing climate change, said Sandalow, who is in Beijing as part of a senior negotiating team aiming to find common ground ahead of the crucial Copenhagen summit at the end of this year.
No effective deal will be possible without the US and China, which together account for almost half of the planet’ carbon emissions.
In a meeting on Monday, Vice Premier Keqiang Li reiterated to Stern that developing countries like China should be held to a different standard, according to a statement posted on the Chinese foreign ministry's website.
Zhang said China was pursuing a constructive and a positive role in negotiations for Copenhagen, and as part of the agreement, developing countries would have to pursue a sustainable development path.
Zhang said that Beijing’s stimulus package was already showing signs of re-energizing the Chinese economy
With Beijing’s stimulus package, the Chinese economy has shown signs of re-energizing with 6.1% growth in the first quarter of this year, and growth in the second quarter is expected stronger than the first. Zhang predicted that China would meet its target of 8% growth this year.