China’s Carbon Emissions Will Peak Between 2030 and 2040, Says Minister

With the opening Monday, China’s Minister of Science and the Environment told the Guardian that he expects his country’s carbon emissions to peak by 2040. Jonathan Watts reports:

In an exclusive interview, Wan Gang said he hoped the maximum output of Chinese greenhouse gases would come as soon as possible within that range, and spelled out the steps that needed to be taken to achieve this.

His comment, while not official policy, is the closest the world’s biggest emitter has come to setting a target for when its output of greenhouse gases will start to fall.

Setting a peak date for developing countries, whose emissions are rising rapidly, will be a key issue for negotiators in Copenhagen trying to map out a global strategy to avoid a rise of more than 2C in the planet’s temperature. Scientists agree a greater rise would have dangerous consequences.

Thinktanks, research groups and academics in China have variously estimated that the emissions peak could come between 2020 or 2050, but the government has yet to announce a target.

The Los Angeles Times writes
about how China and other nations are responding to the global economic crisis by investing in clean energy:

For China and nearly all of Europe, the issue offers tempting opportunities to expand industries and create jobs by developing and selling new technologies for wind, solar, nuclear and other low-emission energy. Especially if there is a strong agreement to move away from the carbon-based energy sources that the world has depended on for more than a century.

Many of those nations, particularly China, devoted huge chunks of recent economic stimulus measures to low-emission energy technology.

“You’re seeing a shift in developing countries,” said Ned Helme, a climate policy veteran who is president of the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington. “Rather than looking out and saying, ‘How do we protect our old cement kilns?’ they’re looking forward to clean energy as their new market.”

Read CDT’s previous coverage of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.