Beijing municipal government should involve the public in its
energy-saving campaign, says a commentary in Beijing News.
An excerpt follows:
On July 1, designated as energy-saving day by Beijing municipal
government, many departments took steps to this end some turned off
their lifts, some high-ranking officials went to work by bus or
bicycle and some set their air conditioners to a higher
As a matter of fact, the municipal government launched its
energy-saving campaign last June. This was against the backdrop of
an electricity shortage in Beijing during the summer.
By setting the first day of July as an energy-saving day, the
government demonstrates strong determination in this regard.
Apart from this day, many government branches have taken
measures to cut their energy consumption.
However, Beijing municipal government's energy-saving efforts
remain far from adequate. By keeping these energy-saving policy and
measures within government offices, it has ruled out the
possibility of public participation.
As long as most people remain unaware of either the methods used
or how much energy has been saved thanks to these efforts, they
will not have enough reason to follow suit.
It is therefore important to offer more public access to the
government's energy-saving measures.
Such public access should include detailed information about the
energy consumption of government offices, before and after the
introduction of the energy-saving policy.
A survey of 48 government branches in Beijing in 2004 revealed
that each civil servant consumed three times more electricity and
seven times more water than the average local resident.
After the publication of energy consumption figures, civil
servants whose departments failed to come up to scratch in terms of
energy saving would have to behave in a more environmentally
If government departments have managed to save large amounts of
energy, then such good examples would encourage the public to do
The government should also make arrangements to facilitate
public supervision in this regard, such as inviting
non-governmental organizations to monitor its energy-saving
(China Daily July 10, 2006)