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China pledged to cap its CO2 emissions by 2030

At the US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change, China pledged for the first time to cap its CO2 emission by 2030.

Following the event, China’s State Council has announced a new energy strategy action plan that includes a cap on national coal consumption by 2020. This is a major breakthrough for climate, and for China’s people, as coal is the largest contributor to CO2 emissions and to China’s dangerous PM 2.5 air pollution.

In a statement, the State Council promised more efficient, self-sufficient, green and innovative energy production and consumption in the Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, which calls for capping annual coal consumption by 2020, and also reducing coal’s share of China’s primary energy mix to less than 62 per year.

The annual growth rate of primary energy consumption will be limited within 3.5 percent for the next six years. Annual coal consumption will be held below 4.2 billion tons until 2020, which is 16.3 percent more than the 3.6 billion tons burned last year, according to the National Coal Association.

The plan placed heavy responsibility on regions around China’s three largest city clusters, Beijing, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, asking them to wean off burning too much coal.

“China mainly depends on coal and it is exploited rudimentarily,” said Zhou Dadi, vice director of the China Energy Research Society, in a statement, adding that China is a major emitter of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

China uses 21.5 percent of global energy and generated 12.3 percent of the world’s GDP. “Energy consumption per unit GDP is very high,” said Li Yizhong, president of China Federation of Industrial Economics. “These targets are pragmatic and obligatory.”