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Green proposals from NPC deputies and CPPCC members
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Editor's Note: As China wrestles with efforts to stem its massive pollution and energy wastage, deputies of the highest legislative body, National People's Congress (NPC), and members of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have brought up environmentally themed proposals at the current two-week annual NPC and CPPCC sessions. China Business Weekly reporters Wang Xu, Wang Yu, Yu Tianyu, Lu Haoting and Fu Jing have compiled their views in Beijing after interviewing them.

On the energy front, Premier Wen Jiabao says in his annual work report to the NPC deputies last week: "From awareness to practice, we have made tremendous changes in resources conservation and environmental protection."

Pan Liguo (left), mayor of Fuxin in northeast China's Liaoning province, tells media about his city's energy blueprint during a break of the NPC session last Wednesday in Beijing.

The judgment is reasonable despite the fact that China is still facing mounting environmental pressures. Locally, an alternative energy blueprint by Pan Liguo, mayor of Fuxin in northeast China's Liaoning province, fits Wen's green agenda.

"We are turning a coal-dependent city into a city of wind farms," says Pan, an NPC deputy with the Liaoning delegation.

Traditionally, Fuxin was a city rich in coal reserves but current reserves are predicted to last for only another 25 years and the city has experienced large environmental problems due to its dependence on the fossil fuel.

"Developing green agriculture and tapping wind power are our new strategies," says Pan.

Hundreds of kilometers away from Fuxin, a CPPCC member has come up with proposal to make Tianjin an environmentally friendly city. Patrick Choy, chairman of China Financial Leasing Group Ltd, says a planned Sino-Singapore eco-city project in Tianjin municipality should give priority to ecologically friendly development and environmental protection.

Choy says he would like to see the eco-city use light-rail transportation or vehicles powered by electricity or natural gas. The construction and operation of railway and light-rail transportation system can draw from Hong Kong's model, in which the government plays a leading role, Choy suggests.

"(In this way), 90 percent of the eco-city's residents, can shuttle between office and home by making use of public transportation, bicycles or just walking," Choy says.

The eco-city will be built in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin municipality, a State-level strategic development area approved by the State Council in 2005 for its potential for economic growth.

China and Singapore signed a framework agreement on the eco-city project late last year. The eco-city is expected to comprise a 30-sq-km "town", combining modern living, recreational and business facilities.

In the south, Guangdong province plans to build the nation's largest offshore wind farm, in a bid to lessen its power thirst. The facility, with sea area coverage of 240-sq-km, will be co-sponsored by the Lufeng municipal government and Guangdong Baolihua New Energy Stock Co Ltd.

The plan includes a 1.25 million kw wind farm, an 8 million kw supercritical power plant and a dock construction project. And the facility is expected to "relieve the energy pressure and optimize the energy structure" in the booming province, an unnamed official from the provincial government says.

Zhang Hongli, chairman of Deutsche Bank (China), who is also a CPPCC member, says China should establish its own Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program to encourage the use of alternative energies. A RPS program usually requires a retail seller of electricity to generate a certain proportion of its total power output from renewable sources such as solar power and wind and biomass. And a power generator could get credit for participating in the RPS program.

The European Union, Japan and the United States have begun such programs and they have proven effective in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

He says China's energy authorities could work with related government department such as the Central Bank and State Electricity Regulatory Commission to map out the details for its RPS program.

At the very beginning, the government could use tax and financial incentives to encourage power companies to join the program. Later on, the RPS program could become compulsory across the nation.

China's RPS program should adopt the same standards as other nations, making it possible for the trade in international RPS credits.

Recycling textbooks

Zhu Yongxin, another CPPCC member, has advocated textbook recycling for years.

Textbook recycling can relieve the financial burden on the government and parents as the cost of textbooks for students at compulsory education stage amount to 30 billion yuan per year.

About 450,000 tons of timber - equivalent to nine million trees - are used for producing textbooks each year.

"It will save a huge amount of resources through a three to five year period of recycling," Zhu says. Some local authorities have adopted textbook recycling systems, but there have been concerns over student graffiti and the possibility of infectious disease caused by used books.

"The health administrative departments concerned should introduce sterilizing criteria while educators should encourage students' good habits while using textbooks," Zhu suggests.

Oasis protection

China Association for Promoting Democracy (CAPD), one of the country's non-communist parties, wants to salvage Minqin oasis in Northwest China.

Minqin in Gansu province, lies between two growing deserts of Tengger and Badain Jaran. (The latter is the world's fourth largest desert.)

The oasis is turning into a desert area following China's first spring sandstorm of 2007 that occurred in the area. The CAPD proposal suggests increasing investment in integrated environmental rebuilding and encouraging local people shift from traditional rural industries to sand control and vegetation protection industries.

It also emphasizes the significance of scientific research, especially research on drought- resistant plants.

(China Daily March 10, 2008)

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