China is encouraging officials to spare some of their attention, usually focused on GDP growth, for energy conservation.
Zhejiang, an economically booming province in the country's east, has decided to add energy efficiency to the evaluation system on local officials' performance.
Eleven mayors and 58 county heads in the province have recently been appointed as top officials in charge of local energy-saving work.
The new indicator is intended to encourage officials to score more by lowering enterprises' costs, promoting technological innovation and adjusting industrial structures for energy and ecological security, according to Lu Zushan, the province's governor.
The coastal province, like most developed areas in the country, is suffering from a sharp conflict between energy shortage and galloping economy.
The average per capita GDP in Zhejiang exceeded 3,400 U.S. dollars in 2005, while 95 percent of its resources relied on imports or transfer from other places in China.
The province has set a goal which requires the energy consumption per unit of GDP in 2010 decline by 15 percent from 2005, Lu said.
Some government officials used to be indifferent to energy conservation, as exemplified by their ignorance of energy wasting in government buildings they worked every day.
A survey showed that the daily per capita electricity consumption by the provincial administration center building in 2004 was nine times that of common residential buildings.
The building was later driven to upgrade its energy-saving measures, including raising the temperatures of air-conditions, using central heating system and power-saving lights.
(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2006)