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. Chinese Officials Say Ditch The Suit And Slash Energy Use

The dress-down call mirrors a national campaign in Japan, where both private and public sector workers are urged to dress lightly and turn down the air conditioning.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 14, 2007
Chinese officials have revealed their latest weapon against excessive energy use -- encouraging office workers to ditch business suits in favour of T-shirts, state media reported Thursday. Several leaders of the State Council, China's cabinet, have called on office workers to dress in light, casual clothing instead of the typical suit so that air conditioners can be turned down, the English-language China Daily said.

The move comes after the cabinet ordered last week that air-conditioning units in most public buildings be set no cooler than 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) ahead of expected spikes in summer energy demand and fears of prolonged power cuts, Xinhua news agency reported.

Fan Xuecheng, the cabinet official for energy conservation, said air-conditioning accounted for up to 50 percent of total power consumption in office buildings during summer, the China Daily report added.

"So there remains the huge task of energy control during the summer," Fan said.

The central government also ordered air conditioners in public buildings to be switched off on Tuesday this week to demonstrate its commitment to cutting power use.

"It was just a gesture. But it taught us the value and importance of energy and how we would feel without it," Zhao Hong, an official with the State Administration of Taxation, told the China Daily.

China's demand for energy has soared as its economy has boomed over the past 15 years.

Parts of Shanghai suffered power cuts recently and officials fear further failures this summer as the overburdened energy network in China's largest city and other parts of the country lags behind the surge in demand.

The Chinese government set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010, but failed miserably in 2006, the first year of implementation.

The dress-down call mirrors a national campaign in Japan, where both private and public sector workers are urged to dress lightly and turn down the air conditioning.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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