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China says to cut power sector emissions by 60% by 2020

[BEIJING] China will reduce emissions from major pollutants in the power sector by 60 per cent by 2020, the cabinet announced on Wednesday, after world leaders met in Paris to address climate change.

China will also reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power generation by 180 million tonnes by 2020, the official People's Daily website said. It did not give comparison figures or elaborate how it would achieve the result.

China's capital Beijing suffered choking pollution this week, triggering an "orange" alert, the second-highest level, closing highways, halting or suspending construction and prompting a warning to residents to stay indoors.

The smog was caused by "unfavourable" weather, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said. Emissions in northern China soar over winter as urban heating systems are switched on and low wind speeds meant that polluted air does not get dispersed.

The hazardous air, which cleared on Wednesday, underscores the challenge facing the government as it battles pollution caused by the coal-burning power industry and raises questions about its ability to clean up its economy.

Reducing coal use and promoting cleaner forms of energy are set to play a crucial role in China's pledges to bring its climate warming greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by around 2030.

China's delegate at the Paris talks, Su Wei, "noted with concern" what he called a lack of commitment by the rich to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and help developing nations with new finance to tackle global warming.

REUTERS