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China Steps Up Supervision of Energy Saving

China's Ministry of Supervision said Wednesday it would monitor more closely and punish departments who violate regulations on energy-saving and pollution control.

Paper-making plants, factories using lead, companies located close to drinking water sources, and the iron and steel enterprises will be the focus of the supervision, the Ministry said in a circular.

Local governments or departments in charge of industry have been warned -- if they fail to implement state regulations and policies, soft-pedal on energy saving and pollution control standards or launch new projects without an environmental evaluation, the staff responsible will be seriously punished, said the circular.

Those who neglect their duties or fabricate environmental statistics will also be punished, the circular added.

China's State Council, or the cabinet, published a circular at the beginning of this month asking all local authorities, government departments and companies to report before June 30 their detailed plans for carrying out the General Work Plan for Energy Conservation and Pollutant Discharge Reduction.

The General Work Plan, jointly developed by the National Development and Reform Commission and other government departments, sets a target of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent and major pollutants discharge by 10 percent in the 11th five-year plan period ending 2010.

The Chinese government has reiterated its intention to meet strict energy efficiency and pollutant reduction targets although it failed to achieve the goal set for 2006.

The six high energy-consuming and highly polluting industries -- electricity, steel, nonferrous metals, construction materials, oil processing and chemicals -- which account for nearly 70 percent of energy consumption and sulfur dioxide discharges of the entire industrial sector, grew by 20.6 percent in the first quarter of 2007, 6.6 percentage points higher than the same period a year earlier.

(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2007)

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