China could see its greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2030 if it sets “quantitative” reduction targets and invests heavily in the use of clean fuel technologies, a government panel of experts has said.
The recommendations from the top panel comes as China, which competes with the United States for the spot as the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases, heads to key talks on a new climate change pact in Copenhagen in December.
The experts suggest in the “2050 China Energy and CO2 Emissions Report” that emissions will slow by 2020 and begin to fall in or about 2030 — and economic growth will be maintained — if the reduction targets are observed.
In such a scenario, carbon emissions would drop to or below the 2005 level by 2050, the panel says.
The experts advocate a “low-carbon” scenario in which China would shift from a coal-based economy to one powered by “clean fuels” including nuclear energy. Carbon dioxide (CO2) comes from burning coal, oil and natural gas.
“Setting energy-saving targets has become a core issue to safeguard China’s sustainable energy supply in the long run,” the report says.
“It is of great significance for a country like China, which is speeding up its modernisation process with a large population but comparatively few resources, to realise fast economic growth with relatively low resources consumption.”
The panel also suggests that strict emission and power supply quotas be imposed on plants, vehicles and buildings, and tax incentives be introduced to encourage research and use of energy-saving and pollution-cutting technologies.
The report, now on sale, was written by a team including experts from the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, and the Development Research Centre of the State Council, or cabinet.
The December negotiations in Copenhagen are aimed at hammering out an agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol that expires in 2012.
As a developing nation with low per-capita emissions, China is not required to set emissions cuts under the UN Framework on Climate Change, and it had so far seemed reluctant to accept caps in the future or set any deadlines.