China Gets Rolling on Carbon Trading

China’s prime minister confirmed the country will increase the amount of non-fossil fuel energy it uses to 11.4% by 2015, and will "vigorously" develop renewable energy as part of its 5-Year Plan.

8.4% of China’s electricity came from non-fossil fuel sources in 2010. In addition to renewable energy, the country plans to use nuclear power and natural gas.

At the Sustainable Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, China’s prime minister said it would work more closely with other countries to "build a new world of green and sustainable development," reports Bloomberg. 

China’s five year plan also calls for reducing carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product (carbon intensity) 17% by 2015.

To achieve that, China’s planning agency, The National Development and Reform Commission, informed seven provinces and cities they need to set emissions caps to prepare for the country’s pilot carbon trading program.

They must submit proposals explaining how they will allocate emission permits to achieve the caps, establish a dedicated fund to support the carbon market, and develop a detailed implementation plan, according to Reuters.

Guangdong province has already received approval for its plan. The province, the country’s largest carbon emitter, committed to increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 20% of all energy by 2015 and cut its carbon intensity by 19%.

Beyond the seven official pilots, 100 other regions and cities want to start carbon exchanges.

China is also seriously considering a carbon tax.

For now, China’s massive use of coal continues to outstrip its growing use of renewable energy. Coal still provides 70% of electricity, almost half of that burned on our planet. If current use continues, it’s on track to consume five billion tons of coal a year by 2020, up from 3.2 billion tons in 2010, reports The Guardian.

Alarmed by the rapid increase, the National Energy Administration is calling for a cap on energy consumption – below 4.1 billion tons of coal equivalent a year by 2015.

In related news, China approved a $913 billion, 300 megawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of its northern Hebei province, to be online before the end of 2015.

China could soon issue a second RFP for 2 GW of offshore wind. The plan is to have 5 GW by 2015, amounting to 5% of total wind capacity.

Here are details of China’s 5-Year Plan:

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