China to spend $372 billion on going green, reducing pollution

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China is poised to spend billions of dollars in energy conservation projects and anti-pollution measures over the next three-and-a-half years. China’s cabinet says the initiative is a part of a campaign to cut energy use by 300 million tonnes of standard coal.

The country says it will spend about $372 billion. The investments will take China nearly halfway to meeting its target to cut the energy intensity 16 percent below 2010 levels by 2015.

Reports say the government has earmarked $155 billion of the money for projects that shrink energy use. While the plan does not detail which types of projects or sectors would benefit from the funds, a big share of the cash is expected to go to industry.

In February, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) set an overall 21 percent energy intensity reduction target for industry from 2010 to 2015.

China’s growth into an economic powerhouse has turned the nation into a major importer of oil, gas and coal.

Reuters says high international fossil fuel prices have contributed to huge losses at some of China’s large state-owned power companies. The news agency also says that China’s drive to reduce the country’s appetite for fossil fuels is meant to improve the country’s future energy security. It is a central plank of its policy to slow down growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

China is currently the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. It plans to cut its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

Over the past few years, China has phased out thousands of old, inefficient factories and fossil fuel-fired power plants. It is now reportedly one of the world’s biggest producers of renewable energy.

Government officials say they expect China’s greenhouse gas emissions to peak around 2030.

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