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Cablegate: Sw China City Aims to Reach National Copenhagen Emissions

VZCZCXRO0493
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHCN #0043/01 0540325
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230325Z FEB 10
FM AMCONSUL CHENGDU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3761
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 4487

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CHENGDU 000043

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/CM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG ENIV SENV CH
SUBJECT: SW CHINA CITY AIMS TO REACH NATIONAL COPENHAGEN EMISSIONS
CUTS IN 2012

CHENGDU 00000043 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) This cable contains sensitive but unclassified
information - not for distribution on the Internet.

2. (SBU) Summary: Sichuan's provincial capital, Chengdu, is
advancing a pilot project in one of the city's northern
districts that seeks by 2012 to reduce carbon dioxide emission
intensity by 40 percent from 2005 levels. This reduction is
roughly equal to the national target that China put forward at
the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009. Sichuan officials
have established a Low Carbon Economy Research Center at the
Province's most prestigious university. Sichuan also recently
upgraded the bureaucratic rank of the provincial Environmental
Protection Bureau, and established an energy department,
although it is too early to tell what impact these changes will
have on environmental efforts. End Summary.

Ambitious Plan to Convert District

Into Energy-Efficiency Pioneer

----------------------------------

3. (SBU) Officials at Sichuan's Environmental Protection
Department (EPD) and the newly-established Low Carbon Economy
Research Center (LCERC) at Sichuan University told Congenoffs
and visiting Emboff that Qingbaijiang District has been
designated as a "low carbon economy" pilot project. Located 30
minutes northeast of Chengdu's city center, the district is home
to a number of chemical factories. Zhao Lechen, Director of the
Science, Technology, and Standards Department of International
Cooperation of the EPD, said that the pilot project would last
1-2 years. Researchers at LCERC suggested that the Qingbaijiang
pilot would likely be followed by other low carbon projects in
other cities and counties.

4. (U) The pilot project aims to reduce the intensity of carbon
dioxide emissions 40 percent from 2005 levels in Qingbaijiang by
2012, according to a local press report. (Note: Chinese
officials at the Copenhagen Conference in December said that
China would reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions by
40-45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. End Note.) The same
report said that the district would see a 50 percent reduction
in carbon dioxide intensity by 2015, and a 60 percent cut by
2020. Niu Wenyuan, the Director of the Chinese Academy of
Science's Sustainable Development Strategy Group, sent a letter
to Chengdu city officials in mid-2009 encouraging them to make
Qingbaijiang a "low carbon development district." Based on this
recommendation, Chengdu officials drafted a plan that called for
industries to carry out 53 low-carbon development projects, and
put forward specific requirements for agricultural,
construction, transportation, and service industries.

Sichuan Academics Pull Together and Work with Government

--------------------------------------------- -----------

5. (SBU) Sichuan University's LCERC integrates the work of more
than 100 academics, some of whom have been working on
environmentally-related projects for over 10 years, LCERC Deputy
Director Xu Jiuping told us. Xu said that professors and
scholars associated with the institute had achieved notable
success in the form of national awards and patents, although he
did not provide specific examples. He said that researchers had
also conducted joint research with British and U.S. universities
in 2003 and 2005, respectively. The LCERC will prioritize
research on green energy, carbon capture and sequestration
technology, energy-efficient construction, and "low-carbon
economic policies." Xu noted that the LCERC would also play a
role in low-carbon pilot projects like Qingbaijiang. Unlike the
more narrowly targeted low-carbon research centers at Beijing's
prestigious Qinghua University or Shanghai's Fudan University,
the LCERC is distinct because its comprehensive research focuses
on all aspects of a low-carbon economy, according to Xu.


CHENGDU 00000043 002.2 OF 002


6. (SBU) Zhao said that the EPD works with the LCERC, and the
EPD's own Science and Technology Research Center (STRC) has the
most direct cooperation with the LCERC. He also said that the
STRC has responsibility for supervision of methane and carbon
emissions, and is working on the Qingbaijiang low-carbon pilot
project. Zhao did not, however, provide specific details of
what role Sichuan's EPD would have in the pilot. (Comment:
Zhao's position appears to be part of the EPD's internal foreign
affairs office, whose officials are tasked with interacting with
Consulate officials. He did not appear to have familiarity with
the details of specific projects. End Comment.)

Sichuan Shuffling Responsibilities,

Possibly Providing Greater Focus on Key Environmental Issues

--------------------------------------------- ---------------

7. (SBU) The Sichuan provincial government announced in late
December last year that organs within the provincial government
would be restructured to provide better coordination, increase
administrative efficiency, and reduce overlapping areas of
responsibility. As part of the reorganization, Sichuan upgraded
the Environmental Protection Bureau (Huanbaoju) to the more
powerful rank of Environmental Protection Department
(Huanbaoting). The province also created a dedicated Energy
Bureau (Nengyuanju) to handle energy issues. When Congenoff
requested to meet with the Energy Bureau, however, an official
said that roles and responsibilities within the bureau had not
yet been finalized.

8. (SBU) Zhao said that the EPD's newly elevated status showed
that both the Sichuan government and the central government in
Beijing were paying greater attention environmental protection
from a bureaucratic and administrative perspective. The EPD,
according to Zhao, would now play a more important role in
macro-economic management, although he did not provide examples
of how this would happen. He also noted the link between energy
consumption and pollution, and said that the EPD's mission was
to deal with this challenge. On climate change, Zhao said the
EPD would also work with the Sichuan Development and Reform
Commission.
BROWN

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