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Raising Energy Efficiency Called Key to Cleaner Air

A US environmental protection leader says China needs to look at efficient use of energy in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

That is by far the most important thing the country should do to control pollution and its ill effects, said Denis Hayes, co-founder of Earth Day in a recent interview with China Daily.

Hayes is now president of the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation.

Earth Day, jointly initiated by Gaylord Nelson and Hayes, was first observed on April 22, 1970, when an estimated 20 million people all over the United States took part in the grassroots environmental movement. On April 22, 1990, more than 200 million people in over 140 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations, making the day an internationally celebrated one.

And it is now still celebrated each April 22.

China has for a long time appeared to be doing much better than the rest of the world in terms of increasing the amount of domestic products per unit of energy consumed, Hayes said.

But over the last few years, the country has been producing substantially fewer domestic products per unit of energy consumed, which means that it is falling back and using energy much more inefficiently.

He suggested that prices of energy resources can be a very powerful driver in enhancing efficiency.

As the costs for energy resources get more expensive, people and industries tend to become more efficient, he said.

With the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol, Hayes said there is a good chance that countries, particularly those in Europe, may want to invest in China.

The Kyoto Protocol aims to cut greenhouse gases and curb global warming. It came into effect in February.

Under CDM, developed countries can conduct emission-reduction projects in developing countries through financial and technical cooperation and they in turn get emissions credits.

(China Daily May 5, 2005)

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