Beijing: China, world's top emitter of greenhouse gases, Wednesday unveiled a new strategy to limit energy consumption, setting ambitious targets to curb the country's dependence on coal, days after it clinched a surprise climate deal with the US.
China's central cabinet issued the Energy Development Strategy Action Plan (2014-2020), promising more efficient, green and innovative energy production and consumption, with a cap on annual primary energy consumption set at 4.8 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent until 2020.
According to National Coal Association, annual coal consumption will be held below 4.2 billion tonnes until 2020, 16.3 per cent more than the 3.6 billion tonnes burned last year, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Coal accounted for 65.7 per cent of energy consumption in China in 2013, official data showed.
The share of non-fossil fuels in the total primary energy mix will rise to 15 per cent by the same year from 9.8 per cent in 2013, the plan said.
Observers say the new targets, especially at a time when China's economy is slowing following a slump in manufacturing, will put new pressure on India and other developing countries to come up with targets in the next year's global climate conference at Paris.
Until now China was part of the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) grouping which since 2009 fought for principle of common but differentiated responsibilities to limit emissions.
As per the plan, the share of natural gas will be raised to above 10 per cent and that of coal will be reduced to under 62 per cent.
Production of both shale gas and coalbed methane could reach 30 billion cubic metres by 2020, the report said.
Construction of new nuclear power plants in eastern coastal areas will begin at a proper time after feasibility studies of building such plants in inland regions.
Installed nuclear power capacity will reach 58 gigawatts and that under construction will top 30 gigawatts by 2020.
By the end of 2013, 17 nuclear power plants were in operations in China. China's total capacity for nuclear power stood at 14.61 million kilowatts as of the end of 2013.
China has another 30 units under construction, which will add another 32.81 GW as per a whitepaper released earlier.
Installed capacity of hydro, wind and solar power is expected to stand at 350 gigawatts, 200 gigawatts and 100 gigawatts, respectively, the report said.
Energy self-sufficiency will be boosted to around 85 per cent, the report said.
On November 12, the US and China announced respective post-2020 goals to cope with climate change.
Under the pact China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 per cent by 2030.