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China’s State Council Unveils 40-45% Carbon Intensity Target

China’s announcement signals its commitment both to the climate conference in Copenhagen, and its intent to achieve significant domestic emissions reductions.

As we head for our turkeys, the news this morning is that China unveiled its goal to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per unit GDP (its carbon intensity) by 40-45% by 2020, compared with 2005.

This news comes in the form of a decision from the Standing Committee of China’s State Council, its highest policy-making body, and Premier Wen Jiabao said it would be binding domestically on Chinese entities.

China Rumored to Release Its Carbon Intensity Goal Later This Week

When Chinese President Hu Jintao made the first speech by a Chinese leader to the United Nations General Assembly back in September he signaled that China would be announcing a target to reduce its carbon intensity by a “notable amount” relative to business as usual but did not reveal the actual number. Since then there has been much speculation as to what the “notable amount” that President Hu suggested would be.

This week, the talk has become more specific with reports that China will release its number over Thanksgiving weekend, partly in response to President Obama’s announcement today that the United States will in fact bring a numerical target to Copenhagen. The White House press release stated “the President is prepared to put on the table a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020.”

NRDC: Cutting Through the Fog with China’s First Pollution Information Transparency Index (PITI)

Developing a coordinated international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions requires, among other things, that countries have confidence in each others’ capacity to monitor and mitigate their GHG emissions. Reliable emissions data in turn relies on the existence of governance systems that make energy and environmental information transparent and publicly available. In May 2008, the Chinese government took a critical step toward furthering environmental transparency by adopting a pair of sweeping pollution disclosure measures that for the first time required government bodies at all levels to make certain pollution information publicly available. The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) and the Natural Resources Defense Council developed a Pollution Information Transparency Index (PITI) to carry out a systematic assessment of the first year of implementation for these regulations.

For the complete fact sheet, please download the pdf from h

NRDC: From Gray to Green

This joint report by The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that buildings account for about 25 percent of China’s total energy use-as much as China’s cement, iron, and steel sectors combined.

However, the study revealed that China can cut energy use by up to 70 percent using existing green building techniques, such as installing better insulation and efficient windows, using natural lighting, and retrofitting heating and cooling system.

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NRDC: Identifying Near-Term Opportunities for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in China

To avoid the worst consequences of global warming, the world must limit average temperature increases to 2°C or less by reducing carbon emissions at least 50 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Since the publication of the IPCC’s last synthesis report, several recent studies have further found that the committed warming as of today will exceed 2°C, even if emissions were to stop completely. Achieving the urgently needed emission reductions will require efforts beyond first-resort measures such as energy efficiency, conservation, and enhancement of natural carbon sinks. Given the world’s current heavy reliance on fossil fuels, nations must pursue a wide range of carbon mitigation strategies that includes Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). China is well-positioned to be a global leader in the development and deployment of CCS technologies that—with broad support and engagement from the international community—can be an important tool for reducing carbon emissions as the world transitions to truly clean energy technologies.

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Provocative Article on Chinadialogue on the Importance of U.S.-China Climate Collaboration

From Chinadialogue:

“US president Barack Obama’s first state visit to China and his joint announcement with Chinese president Hu Jintao have renewed hopes for international climate talks, as both countries reaffirmed their commitment to a successful outcome in Copenhagen. This is a welcome development as the talks had fallen into political pessimism following the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, when APEC leaders said they would not seek a binding deal at negotiations this December in Copenhagen, but would work towards a political framework that could eventually lead to a deal.

The world needs a legally binding global deal in Copenhagen if it wants to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. What we need now is political will and a demonstration of leadership, particularly from the United States and China. The key to reaching this lies in fostering cooperation in areas like clean energy and low-carbon technology between the two countries, with an ultimate goal of setting long-term emissions reduction targets that are more concrete.”

Read the full article at:

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and China Sign Memorandum of Cooperation on Greenhouse Gas Inventories

There is finally a story on page A12 of the Washington Post on what is probably one of the most important agreements signed during the President’s recent visit to China — an agreement for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and specifically NDRC’s Energy Research Institute (ERI) on greenhouse gas inventories.