China Abandons Annual Energy Saving TargetsPublished by MAC on 2007-03-08
China Abandons Annual Energy Saving Targets
8th March 2007
BEIJING - China has abandoned annual energy saving targets because not all its efforts to boost efficiency will bear fruit immediately, but it is still sticking to a five-year goal, a top official said on Wednesday.
Ma Kai, head of the energy policy setting National Development and Reform Commission, said growing pressure on resources as pollution and energy demand rise meant China had no choice but to follow a path of greener growth.
Beijing has pledged to reduce the amount of energy it uses to generate each dollar of national income by 20 percent between 2006 and the end of the decade, and last year aimed for a 4 percent improvement -- but only managed just over 1 percent.
"This year the government did not set a target," Ma told a news conference during the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's parliament.
"We feel that energy saving and emissions reduction are determined by a number of factors. Some of the measures will have an immediate impact while in the case of some others they will take time to become effective."
Premier Wen Jiabao made environmentally friendly growth a central theme of his speech to the meeting's opening session, as policy makers fret about a growing dependence on imported oil and social unrest sparked by pollution.
"Our determination is unchangeable in the face of the constraints imposed by the shortage of resources and the environment problems...there will be no other choice for the Chinese nation," Ma said.
He dismissed claims that China's growing demand was a threat to global energy security, pointing to high domestic coal production and overall per capita fuel use far below that of industrialised nations.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE