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China's Carbon Intensity Goal: A Guide for the Perplexed

A new ChinaFAQs fact sheet explains China's carbon intensity target.

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In late November 2009, China announced its intention to reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions within the Chinese economy by 40-45% by 2020, as compared with a 2005 baseline. China then reported this goal to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat on January 28, 2010.

This announcement, coming on the heels of the United States’ announced pledge of a 17% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2020, garnered a great deal of attention within both the US and internationally, with experts weighing in with both approval and doubts about China’s ambition.

To enhance understanding of China’s commitment, we provide answers to the major questions related to the Chinese carbon intensity target below:

  • What is a carbon intensity goal?
  • What is the baseline for China’s carbon intensity goal?
  • What is the purpose of a carbon intensity goal?
  • What does this carbon intensity goal mean for absolute emissions?
  • Is China’s target a sufficient challenge?
  • How will China and the rest of the world track and report on progress toward meeting this goal?

Download the fact sheet here.


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