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Nation Shifts Focus to Cut Energy Use
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China is targeting construction projects, the transport sector and government buildings to cut energy consumption.

Under heavy pressure to reduce the use of energy, the National People's Congress (NPC) yesterday began deliberating a draft amendment to the Law on Conserving Energy. The law details the measures to avoid wasteful use of energy in the three areas and how to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), China has pledged to cut energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent, or 4 percent each year. The consumption, however, fell by only 1.23 percent last year.

"Achieving the target is highly problematic since energy consumption in some areas and industries just keeps rising," Fu Zhihuan, chairman of the Financial and Economic Committee of the NPC, the country's top legislature, told lawmakers in a report.

Energy consumption, especially in the three areas, has been rising rapidly and is the "weak link" in China's energy-saving campaign, he said.

Official statistics show that in 2005, 27.5 percent of China's energy consumption was in the construction sector, with transportation accounting for 16.3 percent and government buildings, 6.7 percent.

The draft, tabled for first reading in the NPC, says construction projects must reach obligatory energy-saving standards and existing buildings and plants will be subjected to regular inspections by building authorities. Also, a modern household heating system will replace the antiquated central heating network. The new system will enable people to regulate the supply and save precious energy that is now wasted because of the continuous 24-hour supply.

Other energy saving measures include strict control of indoor temperature in public buildings and restrictions on decorative lighting for large structures.

The draft requires governments at all levels to increase investment in public transport, improve services and encourage people to use public transport.

Energy efficiency in the industrial sector, too, has been highlighted in the draft. It says China will continue to push forward industrial restructuring and technical innovation to gradually weed out outdated production methods.

(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2007)

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