China announced new environmental target

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The country announced its energy saving and environment protection targets for the year, the nation's top economic planning body said Tuesday.

The target may give a boost to the country's clean-energy industries especially wind and solar power, as China reassesses its nuclear energy development plan following Japan's nuclear crisis, analysts said Wednesday.

The government hopes to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.5 percent, lowering emissions of major pollutants by 1.5 percent, and reducing water use per industrial value-added by 7 percent in 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement published on its official website Tuesday.

These targets are part of China's plan to cut energy consumption and carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 18 percent over the next five years.

China, as the world's largest primary energy consumer, pledged in its 12th Five-Year Plan to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent while slashing carbon emissions by 17 percent in the five years through 2015.

That will help China meet its pledge of reducing carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

"To achieve these targets, industries need to learn from the experience and lessons of the past to avoid an energy consumption rebound as many local governments implemented power rationing in the second half of last year to meet the target," Yang Hongwei, director of the Energy Efficiency Center under the commission's Energy Research Institute, said Wednesday. "Local governments and businesses should be guided to balance immediate and long-term interests in meeting these targets," he said.

On Monday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also announced a target to reduce energy use and carbon emissions per unit of industrial value added output by 4 percent this year compared to 2010 levels. "It is much tougher to achieve the energy saving's target ...because many backward, inefficient production facilities have already been closed," Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times.

China has 34,485 wind turbines up and running with installed capacity reaching 44,733.29 megawatts by last year, a report by the Chinese Wind Energy Association showed.

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