China appears to be on track for cutting its carbon intensity by 17% between 2011 and 2015. During 2012, China’s carbon emissions relative to output fell by more than 3.5%, beating the country’s average annual target.
In order to achieve the 17% carbon intensity reduction, China must maintain an annual average of 3.5% reduction in carbon intensity. Carbon intensity translates to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of gross domestic product.
The National Development and Reform Commission is following the reductions closely because reducing China’s carbon intensity allows the country to keep up with international demands that it curb emissions while also keeping development a priority since millions of Chinese still live in abject poverty.
A new industrial carbon emissions plan dictating that steel, nonferrous metals, and petrochemical sectors must cut CO2 intensity by 18% by 2015 was recently released by China.
Su Wei, the Director General of the Climate Change department of the NDRC, has stated that the government is devising a national plan that extends to 2020 in order to combat climate change. In fact, by 2020, China plans to cut its carbon intensity by up to 45%. A side effect of this effort to cut carbon emissions is the creation of a carbon market, which requires accurate measurements of the carbon emitted.
China also sees these reductions as a business opportunity. The investment in the Chinese renewable energy sector through 2015 is projected to increase 37.5% to 1.8 trillion yuan.