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China To Step Up Energy Efficiency Drive

China's booming economy -- which last year grew at 11.1 percent -- has come at a huge cost to the environment with up to 70 percent of its waterways polluted and air quality in its cities among the worst in the world. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jul 28, 2007
China has announced plans to double spending on improving energy efficiency and slashing pollution, in an effort to combat its dismal environmental record. The government will spend an extra 10 billion yuan (1.33 billion US dollars) on reducing energy use and cutting pollution, according to a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the state body responsible for economic planning.

The move brings the annual total investment in the area to 21.3 billion yuan.

Nine billion of the sum will be spent on energy efficiency and will target 10 "major energy saving projects," the statement said without giving any details of the schemes.

The state Xinhua news agency said late Friday the money would focus on making energy savings within government bodies, as well as pushing for more efficient use of oil and developing oil-replacement technologies.

China's booming economy -- which last year grew at 11.1 percent -- has come at a huge cost to the environment with up to 70 percent of its waterways polluted and air quality in its cities among the worst in the world.

The Chinese government had set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010, but energy consumption fell only 1.23 percent last year, less than one third of the stated annual goal.

China also missed last year's targets to reduce by two percent emissions of major air and water pollutants, as levels instead rose by almost two percent.

Government figures cited by Xinhua Friday said better results had been achieved between January and May this year with energy consumption falling by two percent compared to the same period last year.

Emissions of sulphur dioxide, a key pollutant, also fell by 0.6 percent, according to the report.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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