China's energy consumption to produce a unit of gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 3.35 percent year on year in the first half, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement Sunday.
The decrease compared with 2.88 percent in the first half of last year.
The commission also said it expected the country's sulfur dioxide emissions to fall 5 percent in the first half, and that the measurement of chemical oxygen demand (COD) to be down 2 percent.
China launched a nationwide campaign to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions in 2006. It vowed to reduce energy consumption for every 10,000 yuan (US$1,470.6) of GDP by 20 percent and major pollutant emissions by 10 percent by 2010 from the 2005 levels.
Analysts said slower growth in industrial output, as result of a slowing economy, helped lower the energy intensity. Energy consumption of the industrial sector accounts for more than 70 percent of the country's total.
China's economic growth has slowed amid the global downturn, but it expanded 7.9 percent in the second quarter after sinking to 6.1 percent in the first quarter.
The falling energy intensity is attributed to improved industrial structure, according to the NDRC statement. It said about a third of energy conserved in the first half was a result of a change in industrial structure.
The proportion of the tertiary industry in GDP was up 0.5 percentage points while that of secondary industry down 0.8 percentage points.
Continued investment in energy conservation and environmental protection, despite a fall in fiscal revenue, also played a role.
China has earmarked 22.4 billion yuan from the central budget for exclusive use in energy conservation and environmental protection since the end of last year.
The government also continued to make efforts to curb energy-consuming sectors. It closed small coal-fuelled power plants with a total generating capacity of 54.07 million kilowatts from 2006 to the end of June this year.
The increase in output of energy-intensive industries declined 10.3 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the NDRC.
Energy intensity in large industries fell, with the steel industry down 8.43 percent, the coal industry 3.83 percent, nonferrous metals 19.59 percent and power production 9.51 percent.
(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2009)