China should not be ranked on its emissions based solely on the size of its 1.3 billion population, one fifth of the world total, said a senior official.
Gao Guangsheng, director of the Climate Change Co-ordination Office of the National Development and Reform Commission, made the remarks in response to foreign media reports claiming China's inaction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), which was concluded Friday in Nairobi, Kenya.
China's per capita carbon emissions is still much lower than that of any industrialized countries, Gao said.
Taking Australia as an example, Gao said China's population is 65 times the size of that country. If Australia's population was 1.3 billion, its total emissions would be sky high as it has high emissions per capita.
Figures from the Climate Analysis Indicator Tool, a tool developed by the World Resources Institute providing a database of GHG emissions, showed that China produces 1.1 tons of carbon per person every year, while in Australia, it is 7.1 tons.
Therefore, if Australia's population reached 1.3 billion, its total carbon emissions would be more than 8.6 billion tons per year, whereas China's total carbon emissions are about 1.3 billion tons per year.
When explaining China's energy consumption structure, Gao said: "China uses coal not because we love coal but because that is the resource we have."
The country has made efforts and will continue to make them in improving its energy efficiency, Gao said.
Its coal use in primary energy has dropped from 76 per cent in 1990 to 68 per cent in 2005. China also set a target of reaching 15 per cent of renewable energy consumption in 2020 and has a plan to cut its energy intensity by 20 per cent in 2010.
Source: China Daily