Mending News

In his keynote speech last Thursday to the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist party, retiring President Hu Jintao said:

Energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP as well as the discharge of major pollutants should decrease sharply.

Source: Leslie Hook for the Financial Times (paywall); summarised here.

This wasn’t a toe-dipping aside like Obama’s. A lot of the speech was similar bold talk about pollution, energy and the environment.

We’ll see what Hu’s anointed successor Xi Jinping has to say at the end of the week, but we can take it for granted that this is the new party line. The baton being passed is green-tipped.

China has already taken huge strides to expand renewable energy – the latest targets for 2015, only 3 years away, include 100 GW for wind, 21 GW for solar, 13 GW for biomass, and a frankly incredible 50 GW for ocean energy and 120 GW for geothermal-and-tidal power lumped strangely together. But SFIK internationally Chinese oficials have always framed their plans as leading to reductions in the carbon intensity of GDP, not absolute reductions. China has finally joined the club of climate realists, and President Obama now has a wide opening for new climate diplomacy.

And hats off to the millions of Chinese environmental activists and protestors who have forced the oligarchy to change course.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]