China now sets its cap on energy consumption

china capChina just announced in its 13th Five Year Plan (2016-202) that it will set an energy consumption cap.  Its goal: to improve industrial efficiency and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The consumption cap will be 5 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by 2020.  China also pledged to cut carbon intensity by 18% by the same deadline.  The Five Year Plan nonetheless predicts that GDP will continue to grow, by 6.5% per year during this period.  According to a new study from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute (to be published in Climate Policy this week), China’s carbon emissions may have already peaked, due to a reduction in coal use and its economic slow down. As we blogged recently, China has already taken steps toward cutting 500 million tons of surplus coal capacity in the next five years.

China pledged in Paris to reduce its carbon intensity 60-65% below 2005 levels by 2030 and peak its GHG emissions by the end of next decade.  Analysts believe that the top GHG emitter in the world will beat this target by at least five years.