IT will cost China more than US$6.6 trillion to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals it will lay out later this month in its strategy for United Nations climate negotiations, the country’s lead negotiator for the talks said.
Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change affairs, said the objectives the government will outline by the end of June will be “quite ambitious.”
Xie was taking part in a three-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue forum in Washington where he met counterparts in the Obama administration, including US climate negotiator Todd Stern, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
To meet its objectives, China, one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, must reconfigure its coal-dependent energy mix and develop new energy sources, Xie said.
“We will need to carry out international cooperation and research and development to reduce the costs of relevant technologies and to innovate so that we can reach our objectives,” he told reporters at a State Department briefing.
On Monday, the United States and China said they will partner on two new carbon-capture, utilization and storage projects to help commercialize the technology.
While key details of China’s plan are not yet known, it is expected to include targets announced in November, when it reached a key climate change deal with Washington to cap its emissions by 2030 and fill 20 percent of its energy needs from zero-carbon sources.
Earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed the government’s commitment to hit a carbon emissions peak by “around 2030.”
The country’s coal consumption decreased for the first time in years in 2014, however, leading some to speculate that its emissions could reach their peak sooner.
Stern told reporters the plans China has already announced with Washington were “a quite strong contribution.” But he said he hopes a final agreement of all countries at this December’s key UN climate change conference in Paris contains “a strong set of ... contributions, which are updated periodically” to ensure more ambitious targets.
Stern said China does not expect public finance to support its climate goals and that it is likely to attract investment as it adopts new technologies.
Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang told a panel that 750,000 electric vehicles were sold in China last year, three times more than the year before, “giving great opportunities and profit to companies like Tesla and BYD (Auto).” “To tackle climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity,” Wang said.