BEIJING China said on Sunday it will spell out greenhouse gas emissions goals and monitoring rules for regions and sectors in its next five-year plan, with monitoring to show it is serious about curbing emissions.
The Chinese government said in November it would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activity, emitted to make each unit of national income by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.
That goal would let China's greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, but more slowly than its rapid economic growth.
The policy was a cornerstone of Beijing's position at the Copenhagen summit on climate change late last year when governments tried with limited success to agree on a new global treaty on fighting global warming.
The United States and other powers said China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from industry and other human activities, should have offered to do more to bring its domestic "carbon intensity" goal into an international pact that would reassure other governments.
China said it and other poorer countries should not be obliged to take on internationally-binding emissions goals, and officials said Beijing would take steps to show the world it was serious about enforcing that goal.
Now the leading committee of China's national parliament has gone some way to showing how the government plans, saying officials will carry out an "inventory" of greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 and 2008, using that as a yardstick for setting emissions reductions goals across areas and sectors.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, or parliament, said the government would put in place a "statistical monitoring and assessment system to ensure greenhouse gas emissions goals are met," Xinhua reported.
Those goals will be made part of the country's next five-year development plan, starting from 2011.
"Relevant departments and regions will form action plans and medium- and long-term plans to cope with climate change and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, based on the targets and requirements set out by the State Council", or cabinet, the report said.
Scientists widely believe China has passed the United States as the world's top greenhouse gas emitter, but Beijing does not release any recent official emissions data.
China's most recent official inventory of emissions was submitted to a U.N. agency in 2004 and covered the year 1994. (Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by David Fox)