Energy saving and emission reduction, like population control, has become a key State policy, Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai said yesterday.
The development model adopted since the late 1970s is causing more strains than the country can bear, he said at the China (Taiyuan) International Coal & Energy New Industry Expo 2007 in the capital of Shanxi Province.
There must be a clear change in the development model so that economic growth is sustainable, he said.
Energy saving and emission controls are "of strategic importance" for China, the world's second-largest energy consumer, and to help maintain stability in the global energy market, Bo said.
The central government has set the target of cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and pollutant discharges by 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.
Shanxi, as the largest energy base of the nation, can be "an ideal test ground" for innovations in saving energy and cutting emissions, Bo added.
The province, which locals proudly call "China's Middle East" for its coal production, will provide a huge market for foreign investment in energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies, Bo said, adding that the central government will strongly support the import of such technologies.
Shanxi accounts for a third of the country's total coal output, and a quarter of its exports.
In the next five years, the mining industry will become more consolidated with the establishment of a few mining groups able to turn out more than 100 million tons in annual output in the northern and eastern parts of the province, said Meng Xuenong, acting governor.
The province will also make efforts to develop other coal-related businesses, such as the coal-to-oil and coal-to-chemical industries.
At the same time, Ling Zhengce, director of the provincial development and reform commission, told China Daily that Shanxi has decided to stop focusing on output alone.
It will seek only 3-5 percent annual increase in coal output, compared with an average annual growth rate of 10-20 percent in the early 2000s,
What is of "vital importance" is to phase out small and private coal mines that lack adequate safety facilities, he said.
The province is ready to close all coal mines with a yearly capacity below 90,000 tons; and by 2010, it will close all mines with an annual capacity below 300,000 tons, Ling said.
(China Daily September 18, 2007)