Tuesday, December 6, 2011

China signals coming shift in measuring CO2 limits

DURBAN, South Africa - An influential Chinese analyst says his country may adjust how it measures carbon emission targets as early as 2020, bringing it more in line with Western governments and signaling a possible opening in international climate negotiations. Xu Huaqing, a senior researcher for China's Energy Research Institute, was quoted Friday in the semiofficial China Daily as saying Beijing could set absolute caps on its carbon emissions — comments later confirmed privately by one of China's top climate negotiators on the sidelines of the international climate talks in South Africa.
It was the first time China has mentioned a timetable toward a hard emissions cap, the article said, and was seen as a significant move by veteran China watchers. Until now, China has spoken of emissions controls purely in terms of energy intensity, or the amount of energy it uses per unit of economic production. It pledged last year to reduce its energy input by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. China is the world's largest emitter of heat-trapping greenhouse gas and a main foil of industrial countries in U.N. negotiations on an accord to control global emissions. Virtually every statement, official or from one of China's approved think tanks like the energy institute, is parsed and dissected by delegates seeking departures from its public position

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