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China Keen on Low-carbon Economy

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Beijing's iconic Olympic venue --Bird's Nest -- might have been a little bit different from it is now if it were built today.

"I would choose to use solar film to power air-conditioners in the Bird's Nest instead of the current ground-source heat pump," said Ding Gao, an engineer of the landmark building.

Ding, director of the Building Energy Engineering Center of China Architecture Design and Research Group, said China's keen interest in low-carbon economy has boosted the development and implementation of "green" technology.

"Like the solar film. Its cost has dropped significantly over the past six years, which makes it possible to be widely used," Ding said at the First World Low Carbon and Eco-economy Conference and Technical Exposition in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province.

Many Chinese entrepreneurs and analysts agreed that low carbon development has gradually become a trend in China. The trend was propelled by Chinese leaders' commitment to sustainable development.

President Hu Jintao in September told global leaders at the United Nations climate change summit that China will "step up efforts to develop a green economy, a low-carbon economy and a circular economy."

He promised that the country, the world's third largest economy, would endeavor to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by a "notable margin" by 2020 from the 2005level.

This makes the toppling of many polluting chimneys inevitable.

"My company had been trying to change the image of a major energy consumption and polluting enterprise by resorting to environment-friendly technology," said Zhang Tingke, deputy manager of China Huaneng Group (CHNG), a major state-owned energy enterprises with installed capacity of more than 9,000 megawatt.

Zhang said all of CHNG's coal-fueled power plants will achieve desulphurization by the end of 2010.

"We are now restructuring the enterprise," he said. "The percentage of clean power including bio-energy and nuclear power has been on a rise. The installed capacity of clean energy would reach 33 percent by 2010."

Zhang's company is not just among the few that have followed the trend.

Li Yue, vice president of the China Mobile Communications Corporation, said his company reduced 11 percent of its total electricity consumption in 2008 compared to 2007.

An "Green Action Plan", including adopting low carbon technologies and saving resources with new management regulations, had been taken, Li said.

As a sign of the low carbon fervor, the three-day World Low Carbon and Eco-economy Conference, which ended Sunday, has attracted 500 enterprises from 25 countries and more than 1,300 government officials, business executives, foreign ambassadors and international organization representatives.

The Conference passed a declaration on Wednesday, calling for all nations and businesses to develop low carbon and eco-economy to tackle global warming and other environmental issues.

Despite positive reactions from the public and industrial sectors, Chinese energy experts warned that China's road to industrialization through low-carbon path would be hard.

A report, jointly issued in September by more than 100 Chinese energy experts, said China might reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions with a persistent policy of energy saving and emissions reduction.

But "without long-term sustentive technology transfers and financial support from abroad, it will be difficult for China to significantly reduce total carbon dioxide emissions," the report said.

It admitted uncertainties exist in changing the awareness of both the government and people, technical innovation, investment and international cooperation.

Wang Jianli, director of the Research Department of the Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee, said China needs to borrow international experiences to promote low-carbon development.

Wang said China had solicited suggestions from multinationals when drafting laws and regulations on environmental protection circular economy.

Jiangxi Provincial government announced during the conference that the the province would cooperate with the Finland government to build a low carbon eco-city in Gongqing city by the Poyang Lake,China's largest freshwater lake.

The city covering six square kilometers was designed to accommodate 100,000 residents. The project will begin at the beginning of 2010 and be completed in 2013.

"China's urbanization process will bring millions of rural people into the cities. How to build cities for sustainable development is a challenge to China," said Mauri Tommila, whose company, Finland's DigiEcoCity Ltd, joined the eco-city project.

The company will build another eco-city in east China's Jiangsu Province and had begun negotiation with Shanghai and Beijing Municipal government for more eco-city plans, Tommila said.

Zhang Kunmin, vice president of Chinese Association on Sustainable development said low carbon development is a systematic and complex project, which requires the joint efforts of the Chinese government and companies as well as the international cooperation.

"China has a long way to go on the road of developing low carbon economy," Zhang said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 22, 2009)

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