China must improve energy efficiency and upgrade its capacity to deal with climate changes, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a meeting held in Beijing on Monday.
"Cutting energy consumption and pollutant emissions and dealing with climate change are urgent, critically important tasks," Wen said.
The creation of a task force on energy conservation, pollution reduction, and response to climate change by the Chinese government was one response to the situation, he said.
Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan also attended the meeting.
The meeting noted the many difficulties the government is facing to reach its energy saving and pollution reduction goals by 2010, as a series of serious environmental incidents have sounded alarms for the government.
A severe algae outbreak at the end of May left tap water undrinkable for a week for half in the homes of 2.3 million residents in Wuxi, a city in the eastern Jiangsu Province.
In mid-June, another algae bloom covered 800 square kilometers of the central-western and northern parts of the Taihu Lake, causing widespread concern in cities along the watershed.
Apart from Taihu Lake, blue-green algae outbreaks have been reported in Chaohu Lake and southwestern Dianchi Lake since May, and have threatened local tap water supply. In response, the central government has declared that no more industrial projects discharging nitrogen or phosphorus will be approved along the lake.
China has committed itself to improving energy efficiency -- its goal is to cut energy consumption by 20 percent per unit of GDP, along with a 10 percent cut in major pollutants, between 2006 and 2010.
China's per unit of GDP energy consumption fell 1.23 percent in 2006, well short of the projected target of 4 percent, official figures showed.
(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2007)