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Hot Economy Means China May Miss Energy Efficiency Targets

Government officials have in recent months expressed confidence that China will nevertheless be able to meet the five-year target, but commission vice head Xie Zhenhua was quoted as saying that the goal may not be achievable.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jul 05, 2007
China may not achieve its much-trumpeted five-year goal on improving energy efficiency due to runaway economic growth, the nation's top planning officials said in comments published Thursday. "The trend of overheated economic development has not been contained," the Beijing News quoted Ma Kai, China's top economic planner, as telling a government panel on energy efficiency on Wednesday.

Ma pointed to previously released data showing that industrial output increased 18.1 percent in the first five months of 2007, which he said was the highest in recent years.

The expansion of high energy consuming and high polluting industries was even faster, said Ma, the chief of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Ma also said that energy consumption nationwide grew by 15.8 percent during the first five months of the year, the highest in three years.

The Chinese government set a five-year goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010, but failed miserably in 2006 when the overall economy expanded by 10.7 percent.

Energy consumption fell only 1.23 percent last year, less than one third of the annual goal of four percent.

Government officials have in recent months expressed confidence that China will nevertheless be able to meet the five-year target, but commission vice head Xie Zhenhua was quoted as saying that the goal may not be achievable.

"If this situation is not turned around quickly, then we will not only miss our energy saving task for this year, but the overall goal for the five-year period will be difficult to realise," the Beijing News quoted him as saying.

China's economy recorded growth of 11.1 percent in the first quarter of the year, with another double-digit increase widely expected when economic statistics for the first half of 2007 are released this month.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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