Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/04/china_energy_use_cap/

China considers energy cap

Climate change makes energy reductions “inevitable”, say officials

By Simon Sharwood

Posted in Science, 4th May 2012 06:38 GMT

China may attempt to cap the amount of energy the nation uses, to address reliance on foreign energy sources and address its carbon dioxide emissions.

The plan has apparently been nutted out over the last two years and provincial governments are aboard. All that the remains is for the State Council, China’s “highest executive organ of State power” to adopt the plan.

People’s Daily quotes, Han Wenke, Director-General of China’s Energy Research Institute, as saying that provincial officials signed off on the plan because they see reduced emissions and reduced energy consumption are inevitable.

"Together with the influence of climate change negotiations, they (officials) think it(capping energy use) is an irresistible trend. They just had some doubt about the exact task they needed to undertake,” Han is reported to have said.

China understands that capping energy use may cause its economy to slow, but is apparently willing to take that hit in order to preserve its own, and the world’s, environment.

There are loopholes in the plan, with regions where GDP surges able to exceed targets. The proposed cap also seems, at present, to apply to all energy. Critics of the plan therefore say it should instead cap the amount of energy derived from coal, but allow greater energy use if the additional supplies come from renewables. ®