BEIJING, Jan 27 (Reuters) - China’s southern Guangdong province plans large investments in natural gas and clean energy to cut coal and oil use in a bid to slow rampant growth in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a provincial climate change plan released Monday.
Guangdong, whose GDP is estimated to have surpassed $1 trillion in 2013, plans to cut coal’s and oil’s share of its energy mix to 60.6 percent in 2015, from 73 percent in 2010, according to the plan posted on a government website. (www.gddpc.gov.cn)
Reducing its dependence on coal and oil will be key to reaching the province’s 2015 target of cutting carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 19.5 percent from 2010 levels, it said.
Huge investments in cleaner energy sources are needed, the plan said, because “there is little room left to eliminate outdated capacity in steel and iron, cement and small coal-fired plants”, previously a favourite fix for Chinese officials seeking to cut pollution.
Guangdong’s greenhouse gas emissions - blamed by scientists for causing global warming - rose by nearly a third from 2005 to 2010, according to the plan. Its emissions in 2010 stood at 580 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
To help meet its goal, Guangdong said it would more than double natural gas’ share in the energy mix to 13.2 percent by 2015. Natural gas emits only half as much carbon as coal.
Other fuel sources, which include renewable energy, nuclear power and electricity imported from provinces in western China, were expected to rise to a 26 percent share in the mix by 2015, compared with 19 percent in 2010.
The province plans to increase nuclear capacity by 8,800 megawatts (MW) over the five-year period, wind power by 2,750 MW and solar by 1,000 MW.
The plan also reiterated the central government’s ban on new coal-fired plants near the Pearl River Delta announced last year, one of China’s most polluted areas, last year.
Guangdong’s plan included a 2015 energy consumption cap of 359 million tonnes of standard coal equivalent. That allows for a 61-percent rise in consumption from 2010, and is the first time Guangdong has set a numerical target for energy use.
Guangdong last December launched an emissions trading scheme, the world’s second biggest after the European Union, in a bid to speed up carbon cuts. (Reporting by Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev; Editing by Tom Hogue)