China will have to launch more ambitious renewable energy and non-fossil fuel targets and ramp up efforts to enforce them to avoid missing global climate accord requirements, two government think tanks said on Monday.
China’s capacity for renewable energy, including hydro, wind and solar, will significantly exceed Beijing’s own target set in the five-year plan to 2020, according to the report jointly issued by China National Renewable Energy Centre (CNREC) and the Energy Research Institute of Academy of Macroeconomic Research. The world’s top energy consumer pledged to install 340 gigawatts (GW) of hydropower capacity, 210 GW of wind and 110 GW solar by 2020 in the five-year plan.
But to meet commitments agreed to in 2015 in the Paris global pact to fight climate change, China should raise its target for non-fossil fuel to 26 percent of its total energy mix from a current target of 15 percent by 2020, the report said. “The Paris agreement of reducing the global temperature by two degrees puts pressure on the short-term energy transition from coal and oil to non-fossil fuels,” said Wang Zhongying, deputy director general at CNREC.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, overtook the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007.
China pledged to bring its carbon emissions to a peak by 2030 or earlier as part of a joint pledge made with the United States ahead of the 2015 Paris talks. If current government policy is enforced properly, non-fossil fuels should account for 60 percent of energy supply by 2050, higher than an official government target of reducing coal alone to just half, the report said.
Still, getting stranded clean power in the west to urban users has been a major headache for the government as Beijing seeks wean the nation off coal, the nation’s favourite fuel. An official at the National Energy Administration said at the conference on Monday he reckons the country will solve the problem of wasted energy by 2020.
Chinese authorities have been striving to improve energy efficiency and upgrade energy infrastructure by introducing measures including national carbon trade, green certificates and promoting energy storage systems. “(But) to ensure compliance with the Paris agreement, strong support to renewable energy deployment is needed on both the national and local levels,” said Wang.