China Sets First-Ever Cap On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Chinese government has ordered five cities and two provinces to set caps on greenhouse gas emissions in preparation for a series of regional carbon markets. Last week, China’s National Development and Reform Commission urged Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Shenzhen, as well as the provinces of Hubei and Guangdong, to set “overall emissions control targets” and submit strategy proposals on how to achieve them. A plan developed by Guangdong — which commits the province to achieving 20 percent of its total energy consumption from non-fossil fuels by 2015 — has already been approved by the central government. The province must also cut its “carbon intensity,” or the CO2 emissions per unit of economic growth, by 19.5 percent. China as a whole, which has already passed the U.S. as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has committed to reducing its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020.