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China to invest $375 billion on energy conservation, pollution: paper

China plans to invest 2.3 trillion yuan ($375 billion) in energy saving and emission-reduction projects in the five years through 2015 to clean up its environment, the China Daily newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a senior government official.

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China plans to invest 2.3 trillion yuan ($375 billion) in energy saving and emission-reduction projects in the five years through 2015 to clean up its environment, the China Daily newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a senior government official.

The plan, which has been approved by the State Council, is on top of a 1.85 trillion yuan investment in the renewable energy sector, underscoring the government's concerns about addressing a key source of social discontent.

China has set a target of reducing its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level, and raising non-fossil energy consumption to 15 percent of its energy mix, Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), was quoted as saying.

As part of broader plans to curb pollution, the government will also roll out tiered power pricing for eight energy intensive industries, while sectors that struggle with overcapacity will face higher power tariffs, Xie said.

The government will also gradually expand a carbon trading pilot program to more cities starting from 2015, with the aim of creating a national market, he said.

Seven cities and provinces, including Shanghai, were ordered by the NDRC in late 2011 to set up regional carbon trading markets.

(Reporting by Fayen Wong and Ruby Lian; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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