Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday that the current
macro-control policy must focus on energy conservation and emission
reduction in order to develop the economy while protecting the
"The challenge of reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas
emissions has proved arduous as China's economy grew 11.1 percent
in the first quarter but power consumption surged 14.9 percent,"
"This is a crucial year for China in its efforts to meet the
energy saving and emission reduction target set for the 2006-10
period," said Wen.
The Chinese government has set a target of reducing energy
consumption for every 10,000 yuan (US$1,298) of GDP by 20 percent
by 2010, while pollutant discharge should drop by 10 percent.
But energy consumption fell only 1.23 percent last year, well
short of the annual goal of four percent.
"To reverse the situation, local governments must no longer
regard the target as a flexible one, but an imperative", said Cai
Zhizhou, a researcher at the China Center for National Accounting
and Economic Growth, Beijing University.
"To curb excessive growth of the sectors that consume too much
energy and cause serious pollution, China must tighten land use and
credit supply and set stricter market access and environmental
standards for new projects," said Wen.
"Restrictions should be imposed on exports in these sectors as
soon as possible," he added.
"Outmoded production methods must be eliminated at a faster pace
and how this policy is implemented by local governments and
enterprises will be open to the public and subject to social
supervision," he said.
"The ten nationwide energy saving programs, such as developing
oil alternatives, upgrading coal-fired boilers and saving energy
indoors, will save China 240 million tons of coal equivalent during
the 2006-10 period, including 50 million tons this year," said
The Chinese government will advance reforms in the pricing of
natural gas, water and other resources, raise the tax levied on
pollutant discharge, establish a "polluter pays" system and
severely punish those who violate the environmental protection
laws, said Wen.
"Without faster restructuring and an efficient method of
economic growth, China's natural resources and the environment will
not be able to sustain its economic development," said Wen.
"We have no choice but to develop in an economical, clean and
safe way," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency April 28, 2007)