The country's top legislature is expected to complete its amendment to the Energy Conservation Law by the end of the year, in a bid to create an energy-saving society, a top official said yesterday.
Xu Dingming, vice-chairman of the Office of the National Energy Leading Group, said that China's rapid economic development had led to a situation where conserving energy and improving energy efficiency was now a priority.
"Against this backdrop, the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee is busy amending the current Energy Conservation Law to make it more in tune with economic growth and energy efficiency," he said at the China Oil and Gas Summit 2007 yesterday.
Han Wenke, director of the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said the current Energy Conservation Law, which was enacted in January 1998, should be updated to reflect the new economic perspective.
"New developments within the energy market over recent years have made the existing Energy Conservation Law outdated. Its aim is to curb consumption and promote efficiency and that is why we have to revise it to suit the current conditions," Han said.
He also said the obligations of governments and enterprise should be better regulated and clarified.
"One of the focuses of the revision should be clarifying governments' and enterprises' obligations regarding reducing energy consumption. What governments and companies are expected to do should be more clearly addressed," Han said.
According to Xu, China's energy consumption in 2006 was up 9.3 percent year on year, while energy output grew by 7.2 percent on 2005. The figures demonstrate an obvious imbalance between output and consumption, he said.
China's energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1.23 percent year on year in 2006, the first annual decline since 2003. But this was still below the government's target of 4 percent. China is determined to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent, equivalent to 4 percent each year, during the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10).
These points demonstrate the importance of having legal support for energy conservation, Han said.
In 1997, the NPC Standing Committee enacted the Energy Conservation Law, which governs energy administration, the proper use of energy resources, promotion of energy-saving technology and environmental protection.
Revising the law began last year, at which time the Xinhua News Agency quoted Li Tieying, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, as saying that the law no longer met China's development requirements.
Li said the NPC Standing Committee intended to revise the Energy Conservation Law to maintain a strong legal framework for building an energy-efficient society, Xinhua reported.
(China Daily March 23, 2007)