Energy law or energy conservation law - which should come
After months of drafting, the Energy Law is still in its public
consultation phase. However, the legislative body has voted for the
latter to be ratified within a year.
"Conservation is our priority in energy policy," said Hu
Guangbao, vice-chairman of the Law Committee of the National
People's Congress, China's legislative body.
His explanation has rationalized the "fast-paced vote" for the
Energy Conservation Law by the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress at the end of October, only after the second
review. China's law-making process often allows "three-readings"
for the legislators before they vote.
"We are eager to create a strong legal framework for building an
energy-efficient society and achieve the green targets," said Hu,
adding that the vote had signaled the urgency for conservation in
energy-thirsty China, which has decided on an annual saving target
of 4 percent per GDP unit of energy consumption between 2006 and
In addition, China also decided to reduce its major pollutant
discharges by 10 percent during the five-year period.
In accordance with the laws, the State Council has stipulated
detailed regulations on how to monitor and assess the performance
of provincial governments and major enterprises in energy savings
and pollutant reduction. The long-discussed regulations were made
"China decided to satisfy its energy demands by saving and
exploring more resources," Hu said.
"But energy conservation is always the priority as conventional
energy such as oil and coal, has limited reserves."
To curb the preference of local governments for investments in
resource-intensive industries, the law also allows the central
government to determine preferential financing, taxation and
industry policies to save energy.
In addition to energy saving, China's legislators are also
prepared to review the circular economy law, which is expected to
ensure cleaner and a zero-emission production process. But so far
the legislative body has not yet given a timetable for when it will
Robert Lao, a world-renowned Chinese Canadian scientist said
China had already been prepared to meet the challenges of changes
to the production model.
"Up down from Chinese President Hu Jintao, the united mindset in
China is that the country's economy should maintain sound and fast
growth," said Lao, whose team from Canadian International
Development Agency has helped China borrow ideas of cleaner
production in the past decade.
All the legislative and administrative efforts have partly paid
China's energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product
fell 1.23 percent year-on-year in 2006, the first annual decline
since 2003, despite it still being below the government's target of
In the first nine months of this year, the index dropped 3
percent, compared to 2.78 percent in the first half. The
achievement was called a "turning point" in environmental
protection by central government officials.
During the nice months, there was a 1.81 percent fall in sulfur
dioxide emissions, and a 0.28 percent fall in chemical oxygen
demand, a key measure of water pollution.
(China Daily December 6, 2007)