Chinese officials plan to see the country's first energy "basic
law" passed by the legislature in two years, laying the groundwork
for future national energy policies, said sources with the group
drawing up the legislation on Tuesday.
In its first public discussion of the proposed law, the office
of the energy leading group under the State Council disclosed how
the legislation would affect government policy and national energy
use in the years ahead.
The government has set the goal of reducing national energy
consumption by 20 percent in the five-year period from 2006 to
The goal, as well as the strategy of forming an energy-efficient
and environmentally friendly society, would be an important part of
the Energy Law, said a senior official with the office.
The law would stipulate articles to encourage domestic energy
exploration and international energy cooperation, optimize energy
reserves and emergency response systems, develop renewable and new
energies and enhance energy efficiency, he said.
The improvement of China's economic structure depended on
improving its energy structure, which required integrated energy
policies, he said.
The Energy Law would ensure those policies were implemented more
effectively, he said.
The law also aims to give outline the government's role in the
energy market, regulations for a competitive market, improvements
to China's production safety and encouraging technological
innovation, he said.
The law would incorporate experiences of other countries,
including the 2005 Energy Policy Act of 2005 of the United States,
China now has four specific energy laws, covering the coal
industry, electric power, energy conservation and renewable energy
as well as local rules and regulations on energy.
However, the country has yet to officially legislate on
petroleum and natural gas.
Without a basic law and a complete energy law system, China had
to rely on policies to solve its energy problems, which were
"inconsistent and unstable", said the official.
China is the second largest energy producer and consumer in the
world after the United States.
The government launched the draft work of the Energy Law in
January with the establishment of a drafting group drawn from 15
state ministries or institutions.
From this May to December, a survey on proposals and suggestions
to the Energy Law is being conducted through the Internet and
newspapers across the country by the office of the energy leading
group and the National Development and Reform
This is the first time the government had solicited public opinions
on such a large scale before drafting an important law, said Wang
Mingyuan, associate professor of the Center for Environmental,
Natural Resources and Energy Law of Tsinghua University.
It showed the importance the government attached to the law and
the great public significance of the energy basic law, said
(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2006)