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China sets tougher 2024 energy efficiency goal after missing 2023 target

 – China on Tuesday set more stringent energy intensity targets for 2024, despite missing last year’s goal, as the world’s biggest energy consumer tries to keep from falling further behind on its consumption targets under the five-year plan through 2025.

China is aiming to cut its energy intensity, or the amount of energy used per unit of economic growth, by 2.5% in 2024higher than last year’s missed 2% goal, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a report released at the opening of the annual National People’s Congress.

The higher target follows China reporting last week its energy intensity fell 0.5% in 2023. It also missed last year’s target to cut carbon emissions per unit of GDP. The world’s biggest carbon emitter’s desire to cut emissions and energy consumption is often at odds with the need to boost economic growth and living standards, despite pledges to do so.

“Due to the rapid growth of industrial and civilian energy consumption, reductions in energy and carbon intensity also fell short of expectations,” the NDRC said in the report on Tuesday.

Primary energy production last year amounted to 4.83 billion metric tons of standard coal, 4.2% higher than 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics said last week.

Energy use per unit of economic growth fell 2% between 2020 and 2023, leaving China way behind on its five-year plan target of a 13.5% cut for the 2021-2025 period, according to research by two energy think-tanks last month.

On Tuesday, the government reiterated its pledge to step up the exploration and production of oil, natural gas and strategic minerals to ensure energy and resource security.

Despite falling short on its climate targets, it also said it would continue to promote the “supporting” role of coal-fired power in its energy system, and further develop “advanced” coal reserves.

It called for accelerating reforms of energy pricing including for the pipeline transportation of refined petroleum products.

The government will also set up a national platform of research into clean energy and storage, expanding the nation’s strength in the new energy vehicle sector as well as developing hydrogen power. – Reuters

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