China plans to cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) discharges from its coal-fired power plants by 62 percent by 2010 in an effort to reduce air pollution.
The realization of this target is vital if China wants to clean the air and reach the goal set by the government in its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) to cut nationwide discharges of SO2 by 10 percent by 2010, said an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) yesterday.
The SO2 discharged by coal-fueled power generators is expected to drop from 13 million tons in 2005 to 5.02 million tons in 2010, according to a plan released by NDRC and the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
China saw its SO2 emissions jump by 1.8 percent last year to total 25.94 million tons, down from the 13.1 percent growth a year ago. The power sector contributes more than half of the total pollutants, NDRC figures show.
The NDRC called for open and fair distribution of the discharge licenses to power firms and tax incentives for companies equipped with desulfurization facilities.
The NDRC and SEPA plan to publish an annual list of desulfurization-equipped power plants, allowing key projects to come under public scrutiny.
Firms that deliberately halt the operation of the desulfurization equipment will be punished, according to the plan.
China has set a goal in its 11th Five-Year Plan to reduce its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and the discharges of SO2 and chemical oxygen demand (COD) by 10 percent between 2006 and 2010.
The rising discharges of SO2 have resulted in one-third of China suffering from acid rain.
(Xinhua News Agency March 28, 2007)