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Beijing Sets Sights on Green Goals with New Action Plan

With 15 months to go before the start of the Beijing Olympics, the capital is stepping up its efforts to build an environment-friendly city.

Consumption rates of energy and water per unit of GDP are both expected to shrink by 5 percent this year, while the rate of chemical oxygen demand (COD) should fall by 10 percent, according to an action plan released yesterday.

The plan was released at a press conference organized by the Beijing municipal commission of development and reform.

Zhang Yanyou, a member of the commission, said that in addition to the eight environment-related laws passed last year, a series of amendments to the municipal regulations on energy conservation are in the pipeline.

The circular economy draft law, which will be submitted to the Standing Committee of National People's Congress for review this summer, provides the legal basis for action plan.

The plan will also involve preparatory research for the draft, Zhang said.

Last year, Beijing led the country in terms of industrial energy conservation and made significant progress in several other categories for monitoring environment protection and the construction of a circular economy.

Chen Tian, chief engineer of the municipal environmental protection bureau, said Beijing's accomplishments in energy conservation and environment protection would allow the capital to meet its commitments to hold a "green Olympics" next summer.

Beijing's push for a circular economy, or a recycling economy, is timed to coincide with the 2008 Olympics on the one hand and the squeeze for resources the country could face as its economy expands on the other.

In recognition of these twin pressures, the city has outlined various measures in its action plan, including the closure of heavily polluting businesses, speeding up the development of the service sector and industrial clusters and parks, technological innovations, energy conservation projects for government operations and infrastructure and pollution reduction efforts.

In the area of public transportation, the city has promised to replace 2,580 outdated buses and 5,000 obsolete taxis within the year.

(China Daily May 10, 2007)

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