'EARTH' T-shirt spells out China's green drive at National Day parade

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The word of "EARTH" printed on the T-shirts worn by the paraders of the environment formation were among a few English letters shown at New China's 60-year birthday pageant.

They underscored China's resolution to cut pollution and protect ecological environment as it saw severe environmental degradation from years of double-digit economic expansion.

"Environmental protection is in the interests of the current and future generations," read a banner on the float moving though the Tian'anmen Square.

As Chinese people have begun to realize that any economic miracle without proper care for the environment will still be a failure, significant improvements have been made as the government massively increases environmental protection spending and issues a series of laws and regulations to control pollution.

Over the past decade, China has been pushing forward restructuring its economy by cutting down on high energy cost and high-emission projects, and by eliminating backward capacity in electricity, steel, and glass industries.

From 2006 to 2008, the country eliminated backward smelting capacity of 61 million tonnes of iron, 43 million tonnes of steel, and production capacity of 140 million tonnes of cement and 64 million tonnes of coke. By the end of June 2009, the country had also phased out 54 million kw of coal-fired power capacity by small and polluting power plants.

Measures were also implemented to enhance people's awareness of environmental protection. The government ban on providing free plastic bags at shops and markets is expected to save 2.4 million to 3.0 million tonnes of crude oil every year and cut 7.2 million to 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The national "No Car Day" has made more people take public transit system to save fuel.

China renewed its green promise to the world as President Hu Jintao pledged to cut carbon emissions by a "notable margin" by 2020 from the 2005 level at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 22.

"We will endeavor to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from the 2005 levels," Hu said.

According to a state guideline released in 2006, China promised to lower emissions by 10 percent and reduce its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent between 2005 and 2010. That equals to a reduction of 1.5-billion-tonne greenhouse emission, or 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

It also looks toward renewable energy sources and aims to increase their usage to 10 percent by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020 to secure future energy supply and reduce pollution.

By the end of 2008, China has Asia's largest wind generator fleet with a total power-generating capacity of 12.21 million kilowatts, which ranked the fourth in the world, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

The government's policy incentives brought about more than 600 solar cell companies, mostly privately-owned, which manufacture 44 percent of the world's total cells for solar power devices.

The strenuous efforts have already born fruits as official data showed China cut its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 10.1 percent from 2006 to 2008, which means the country saved 300 million tonnes of standard coal and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 750 million tonnes.

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