The Chinese economic powerhouse of Guangdong Province is number one in the country for energy reduction endeavors in economic production.
Li Huiwu, a senior official in charge of policy research with the Guangdong Provincial Government, said the province's energy consumption for creating every 10,000 yuan of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first half of the year was 0.79 tons of standard coal. This was equivalent to 65 percent of the national average.
"Guangdong used to be a big energy consumer and had been punished by a range of crises such as shortages of water and fuel, " said Li, "I don't believe resources and the environment would sustain, not to mention development, if the previous economic growth patterns featuring high input, high pollution, high growth, but low output, low recycling and low benefit continued."
The provincial government last year launched seven major energy-saving programs in a bid to promote the growth of a thrifty society in which harmonious, sustainable economic and social development was achieved by efficient use of resources.
The programs include the recycling of heat, energy conservation in government institutions, petroleum substitution and energy saving in architecture.
The province has embarked on a practice of adding indexes regarding the development of a thrifty society and the growth of a recycling-based economy as main factors in assessing performances of local officials.
And positive change has achieved results in southern China which was heralded as the country's economic pacesetter after it was chosen to pilot the country's reforms and opening-up in 1978 and has been prospering ever since.
In its determined efforts to overcome the energy bottleneck for its dynamic economy and embrace the strategy of sustainable development the Chinese government is now attaching unprecedented importance to energy saving.
In the economic development program for the 11th five-year-plan period (2006-2010), China has listed the goal of reducing the energy consumption per unit GDP by 20 percent as a compulsory objective to be attained by 2010. This year's target has been set at a four percent decrease.
However, nationwide, China's energy consumption per unit GDP rose by 0.8 percent in the first half year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
To make sure its policies are implemented the country's top planning body, the State Development and Reform Commission, in late July signed pacts with all the provincial governments defining their responsibilities regarding the energy-saving goals.
Before that, 1,008 enterprises with annual energy consumption exceeding 180,000 tons of standard coal each, which are from nine industries ranging from iron and steel making, non-ferrous, coal, power, oil and petrochemical sectors, also agreed to participate in the nationwide energy-saving action.
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2006)