Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday urged local governments to step up efforts in energy conservation and emissions reduction.
Speaking during a teleconference, Wen said local governments should be aware of the "extreme significance and urgency" of the task as the current situation is "rather severe".
China aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 16 percent in the five years to 2015, with carbon dioxide emissions set to be slashed by 17 percent over the same period.
Energy consumption should be properly controlled, Wen said. Local authorities should develop hydropower on the condition that displaced local residents are properly relocated, and develop nuclear power in a safe and efficient manner, he added.
China will promote reform on resource and environmental taxes and curb exports of high-energy consuming and high-polluting products, Wen said. China will establish a carbon trading market after starting a pilot project, he said.
Wen also ordered industrial enterprises to work to prevent heavy metal pollution and curb the emissions of pollutants.
The government will also promote energy-efficient and green-energy vehicles, Wen said.