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Financial Muscle for Energy Conservation

China has put muscle into its drive for saving energy and reducing pollution with 10 billion yuan funded by the central government, according to the website of the country's top economic policy-planning agency.

Through the allocation of 6.3 billion yuan in treasury bonds and 5 billion yuan from the national budget appropriated at the start of the year, the country now has a total of 21.3 billion yuan in its green drive war chest.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that as part of the effort, about 9 billion yuan, 13 times of the amount allocated last year, will be used in 10 key energy saving and pollution reduction projects.

"It is great that a government's efforts are reflected in its policies and fund allocations, which correspond with its commitments," said Zhang Jianyu, an environmental visiting scholar in Tsinghua University.

"It also shows that the government is taking this (energy conservation and emission reduction) as its own, rather than allocating the responsibilities to enterprises," Zhang said.

China has set a target to cut energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent from 2006 to 2010 compared to the 2005 levels and reduce major pollution emissions, such as sulphur dioxide and chemical oxygen demands, by 10 percent.

Ten key projects for energy saving and pollution reduction are a significant part of the green effort, which planners estimate can save 240 million tons of coal equivalent.

The projects include saving and seeking substitutes for oil, improving coal-burning industrial boilers, developing regional combined circular power plants (CCPP), increasing energy efficiency in power generation systems, improving overall energy system performance, developing energy saving construction and lighting systems and requiring governmental lead in energy conservation, as well as providing monitoring systems and related service development.

Through saving and seeking substitutes for oil, the country is projected to conserve 38 million tons of oil by 2010.

Improvement in coal-burning industrial boilers will help the nation save 35 million tons of coal equivalent, while adoption of regional CCPP technology is estimated to save 35 million tons of coal equivalent.

The country's new buildings for both domestic and public use are required to save 50 percent of energy from 2006 to 2010 by adopting green technology and materials, which the NDRC estimates can conserve at least 100 million tons of coal equivalent.

(China Daily July 28, 2007)

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