BEIJING, March 7 (UPI) -- China announced a series of green targets proposed in its latest five-year plan to be voted on this week.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, at the opening of Parliament's annual session Saturday said China aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 16 percent in the five years to 2015 on the basis of 2010, state-run news agency Xinhua reports.
Specific goals under the draft 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) for the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases include cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent, per unit of GDP from 2010 levels and slashing major pollutant emissions by 8 to 10 percent, Zhang Guobao, former head of the National Energy Administration told reporters.
"These are effective measures in response to climate change," Zhang said.
He said responsibility for meeting the targets would be divided among regions and related businesses, making the targets "mandatory and binding."
The targets are part of a wider plan to reduce carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020.
China also aims to generate 70 million kilowatts of wind power capacity and 5 million kilowatts of solar power capacity under the draft plan.
Zhang said China, which relies on coal for 70 percent of its energy needs, aims to limit energy consumption in 2015 to 4 billion metric tons of coal or its equivalent in other fuels. That represents an annual increase of 4.24 percent from 2010's total of just more than 3.2 billion tons.
As part of the five-year plan, China will construct oil and natural gas pipelines totaling about 99,419 miles in the next five years, including a gas pipeline to central Asia and oil pipelines to Kazakhstan and Myanmar.
Zhang told Xinhua that the country must carry out an "arduous" task to protect its energy security. "Oil security is the most important part of achieving energy security," he said. "Preparations for alternative energies should be made as soon as possible."
Imports account for nearly two-thirds of China's oil, global energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie says, and the country is expected to surpass the United States for its share of percentage of imported oil in 2011.
Prior to its economic boom and rise to the world's second largest economy, China was a net exporter of oil, as recently as 1992.
Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, told The New York Times that the goals in China's new five-year plan are consistent with IEA's "new policies" plan for climate change, saying that the draft plan was a middle course that represents an improvement from the country's current policies.
However, he said the goals are still not sufficient to meet the what the agency says is needed to prevent world temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius, an increase widely considered by scientists that would lead to considerable environmental changes.