China to enjoy ‘blue skies’ by 2030: official

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-26 0:23:01

But some experts say conditions may change within 16 years

The heavy smog that has been hovering over China in recent years is expected to disappear for good by 2030 when China's carbon emissions reach their peak, a senior Chinese official said Tuesday.

China's air quality will be improved significantly by 2030, and it is not wishful thinking to have constant blue skies like Beijing had during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit earlier this month, Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a press conference on China's policies and actions on climate change.

Current measures that China has adopted to cope with climate change, such as energy conservation, developing renewable energy and improving energy efficiency, would help curb air pollution, Xie said.

"For example, reducing coal consumption is something being done. These measures may affect economic development in a short term, and that's why we have extended the period and imposed better, stronger policies," he said.

However, some environmental scientists have cast down on the forecast, saying it's difficult to predict what will happen within the next 16 years. 

"It's hard to say when exactly China will be free from air pollution," Zhang Yuanxun, a professor of environmental sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times.

He said China could develop techniques that could drastically reduce pollutants in a few years, and smog might disappear ahead of 2030.

Predicting when China will enjoy a smog-free environment is meaningless, since China lacks a clear definition of "blue skies," Zhu Tong, a professor of environmental sciences at Peking University, told the Global Times.

Zhu said the prediction should be based on a clear definition, accurate data of pollutants and economic development within a fixed time frame.  

In response, Xie said that China still faces uncertainties in economic development, but stands by the 2030 target.

China has pledged to increase the share of non-fossil fuels by 20 percent by around 2030.

By setting a target, China has established a mechanism to restructure the economy to respond to the changing requirements, he said.

China will issue regulations on carbon trade by the end of this year and establish a national carbon trade market by 2016, the authorities said during the conference. 

The government also released a 2014 report on China's policies and actions on climate change, which discussed China's measures to cope with climate change.

According to the report, the total trading volume of carbon dioxide in seven pilot provinces and cities reached 13.75 million tons by the end of October.

As for the upcoming Lima Climate Change Conference in December, China called on developed countries to fulfill the obligations by providing funds and transferring technology to developing countries. 

Posted in: Environment

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