News & AnalysisClimate Change

China Looks to Balance Its Carbon Books

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Science  18 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6058, pp. 886-887
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6058.886-a

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Summary

An equitable solution to reining in carbon dioxide emissions worldwide is proving elusive, and with the Kyoto Protocol set to expire in 2012, time is running out. As nations grope for a consensus, China is pressing ahead on its own to sharply reduce energy intensity by shuttering inefficient coal-fired power plants and capping energy use. Last week, the State Council approved a plan to promote low-carbon energy and slash CO2 emissions by 17% per unit of GDP by 2015. But these efforts mask major uncertainties in China's carbon balance sheet: just how much CO2 the country emits and how much its landscape absorbs.

  • * Li Jiao is a writer in Beijing. With reporting by Ni Wei.