China Urged to Make Deeper Cuts in Coal Use for Climate Pledge

China must make deeper cuts in coal consumption to meet its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a government adviser.

The world’s biggest carbon polluter should aim to reduce the amount of energy it gets from coal to less than 55 percent in the next five years, said Li Junfeng, director general of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation.

The fossil fuel currently provides China with about 64 percent of its energy and a target issued last year by the State Council, the government’s chief administrative body, called to cut that to below 62 percent. China is in the process of drafting its energy plans for the five years through 2020.

Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday promised China will further cut the amount of heat-trapping carbon-dioxide it emits for every dollar of economic output, augmenting existing pledges to boost renewables and cap total emissions by 2030.

China’s aim “for more energy from non-fossil fuels and natural gas” weakens the need for coal, the National Center for Climate Change Strategy’s Li said in an interview in Beijing.

Coal contributes 44 percent of global greenhouse gases, according to the International Energy Agency.

Wider use of solar, wind and hydroelectric power in China has helped reduce the reliance on dirtier-burning fossil fuels.

China’s coal consumption declined last year for the first time in 15 years, XHNeng, a news portal run by state news agency Xinhua, reported on June 30.

The world’s most-populous nation consumed 3.61 billion metric tons of coal in 2013, according to the China National Coal Association.

“China’s coal consumption has peaked,” said Jiang Kejun, a researcher at the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission. “As long as it doesn’t go beyond 3.7 billion tons, we may see a natural decline of around 2 percent in its share of energy each year. ”

— With assistance by Feifei Shen, and Sarah Chen

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