China unveils new climate goals for 2020

June 25 (UPI) — Guidelines published by the leading party in China during the weekend outline efforts to cut emissions by at least 15 percent by the end of the decade.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China outlined goals for air quality and the broader environment from 2020, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has put health at the forefront of government policy. The president has his signature on the Paris climate agreement and signed memorandum with the International Renewable Energy Agency in March that outlined pursuits for a low-carbon Winter Olympics in China in 2022.

Air quality concerns were raised for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where air quality has at times been below levels considered healthy by the World Health Organization. Beijing’s air pollution levels continue to raise public health concerns.

The plans outlined by the Communist Party call for a reduction in particulate matter in the air of 18 percent from 2015 levels by the end of the decade. Emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, both greenhouse gases, are to decline by 15 percent from 2015 levels.

The latest policy guidance from Beijing outlined few specifics on achieving the targets, though Xi’s government has been taking steps toward a low-carbon economy. IRENA estimates that 60 percent of all renewable energy jobs are in the Asian economies. For the solar panel industry, China has about 60 percent of the payrolls, representing about 2.2 million employees. China also accounts for 44 percent of the payrolls in the wind energy industry.

The Communist Party agenda followed a weekend meeting of the environment ministers from China, Japan and South Korea. Beijing at the meeting proposed a trilateral mechanism for regional coordination around the Paris climate agreement.

Elsewhere, the government reported Chinese crude oil production in May declined 1.6 percent year-on-year. Total imports in May increased 5 percent year-on-year.

China is one of the largest oil consumers and importers in the world.

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