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China Will Attempt to Cut the Energy Intensity of Its Economy in 2024

China will seek to reduce the energy intensity of its economy by 2.4% this year, Bloomberg has reported, citing a government document.

“As the economy continues to recover and grow and the service sector resumes its normal pace of growth, a bigger drop can be expected in energy consumption per unit of GDP,” the National Development and Reform Commission of the country said in the document.

“However, energy use in industry and homes will inevitably grow and result in an increase in energy consumption.”

Last year, China targeted a 2% reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP but it failed to meet that target as energy consumption increased at a faster rate than gross domestic product. It was the first time in 20 years that this happened, Bloomberg noted in its report.

The 2024 target is a lot more conservative than the targets Beijing set itself earlier in the decade. Two years ago, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology drafted an action plan that aimed to reduce energy intensity in the country by 13.5% over the period between 2021 and 2025. That was to happen through the implementation of new technologies, standards, and financial services, per a report by Reuters from June 2022.

Efficiency improvements were also named among the ways to reduce the energy intensity of the Chinese economy at the time.

The 13.5% target in energy intensity reductions for the period between 2021 and 2025 is also accompanied by an emissions intensity reduction target of 18%. According to Bloomberg, that target is too about to be missed, which, according to a climate NGO, would mean sharp reductions in both energy intensity and emissions intensity in the next year or so until the end of the five-year planning period.

It may well happen, but not by actually reducing energy consumption or emissions. It could happen by tweaking the rules about what gets tracked and reduced. This is what Beijing did in 2022, when it stopped counting the energy consumption of wind and solar capacity or resources converted into products, such as coal turned into chemicals, Bloomberg noted in its report.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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