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China Vows Tangible Steps to Save Energy, Cut Pollution in 2008

China will take tangible measures to save energy and cut pollution in 2008, Li Pumin, the spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said in an interview posted on the Chinese website on Saturday.

"The country will continue eliminating outdated production facilities, including small thermal power generating units with a combined capacity of 13 million kilowatts, and facilities with 50 million tons of cement, 6 million tons of steel and 14 million tons of iron," said Li.

To protect the environment and save energy, China had shut down 29.4 million tons of outdated iron smelting capacity and 15.21 million tons of outdated steel smelting capacity as of the end of November.

"The government will make full use of tax, fiscal and financial policies to push forward energy-saving and pollution-cutting goals," added Li.

China's top five banks offered loans of more than 100 billion yuan (US$14.08 billion) last year to support companies' environmental plans. The country is also levying a full consumption tax on refined fuel oil and three other oil products retroactively from January 1.

Li added that the government would continue carrying out the "Top 1,000 Enterprise Energy Efficiency Action Plan" in 2008.

Last September, the NDRC launched the plan, which required the 1,000 largest domestic enterprises in iron and steel, petrochemical and other sectors to meet global energy efficiency requirements and save 100 million tons of standard coal by 2010.  

He said the country would implement 10 major energy-saving projects, including enhancing the efficiency of low-efficiency industrial boilers, improved energy-saving programs for oil refining, iron and steel companies and wider use of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.

The government would also step up pollution control in major river valleys, lakes and regions, including the Huaihe River, Taihu Lake and the Three Gorges Project area.

The government pledged that the 36 biggest cities would have all waste water purified before being discharged in the next two years.

China decided to reduce energy consumption per unit of grass domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent by 2010. But the change in 2006 was only 1.23 percent, less than one-third of the average annual goal of 4 percent. However, the situation improved in 2007,when the figure was 3.27 percent.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2008)

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