China looking to reduce energy consumption

China has published a five-year plan, according to Reuters, to keep energy consumption below 5 billion tons of coal equivalent by 2020. It is the first time that the economic superpower has announced such a fixed goal.

Limiting energy consumption would enable China to improve its efficiency and reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases. Taking into account the growth that the country is experiencing at present, it seems imperative to decouple economic growth from energy consumption.

Xi Fengming, an expert from the China Academy of Sciences, confirms that the goal is attainable. “Energy consumption will fall below 5 billion tons if all goes correctly. ”

However, Reuters reports that scientists claim that the target could have been even more ambitious. Latest figures reveal that China’s energy demand is already in a downturn and Yang Fuqiang, advisor to the American Council for the Defence of Natural Resources, believes that could reach 4.8 billion tons.

In 2015, China consumed 4.3 billion tons of coal equivalent, up almost 1% compared to 2014. However, due to stricter controls, coal consumption was reduced by 2.2% .

While it is undisputed that the Chinese announcement is a positive step in the right direction, proponents of clean energy and environmentalists will both reflect that further progress could have been made with more ambitious targets.

Photo Credit: REUTERS / JASON LEE