To improve energy efficiency, the government must take action,
says a signed article in Beijing Youth Daily. An except
The Chinese Academy of Sciences published "Strategic Report:
China's Sustainable Development 2006" last month. The research team
used the consumption of energy, water, cement, steel and nonferrous
metal to calculate the resource-saving index, and ranked China 54th
for resource consumption efficiency among 59 countries listed.
To increase the efficiency in resource consumption, the
government has a lot of work to do.
First, there are still a great proportion of state-owned
enterprises (SOEs) in China. Managers of SOEs normally do not have
a strong cost control awareness as they are not owners of the
enterprises. The State shoulders the high production costs.
In some monopoly enterprises, the situation is even worse
because they lack the drive to lower costs. It becomes common that
monopoly enterprises are huge resource consumers.
Second, local governments' decision-making methods also lead to
low efficiency of resource consumption. Some local governments
intervene in production and their investments cannot be properly
Last but not least, the GDP-oriented political performance
assessment system is not good for improving resource consumption
efficiency. For many years in China, economic development has been
misunderstood as simply the growth of GDP, which has been used as a
ruler to measure the political achievements of local officials.
Some local governments increase the fixed-assets investment
scale irrationally, which leads to overcapacity and pollution.
Others promote the real estate industry blindly, which leads to low
Therefore, the key to improving resource consumption efficiency
is to regulate "official conduct." A scientific and democratic
decision-making mechanism should be promoted. And a performance
assessment system that honors resource consumption efficiency
should be promoted.
(China Daily March 8, 2006)