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Regulation on environmental evaluation
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China's State Council Wednesday passed a draft regulation on environmental evaluation over new projects to prevent pollution or ecological destruction from the beginning.

Under the regulation, environmental evaluations are required before the planning of development projects could be approved, according to an executive meeting of the State Council, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

Such a regulation covers all development activities, from land use and the development of rivers or oceans, to development projects related to industrial, agricultural, husbandry, and forestry sectors as well as energy, water conservation, transportation, urban construction, tourism, and exploration of natural resources.

In the latest case, the Ministry of Environmental Protection in June suspended two hydropower station projects over the Jinshajiang River, upstream of Yangtze River, which had been started without environmental approval.

China Huaneng Group and China Huadian Corporation, which owns the two plants, were ordered to conduct environment-friendly improvement to their high energy-consuming and highly polluting projects.

The regulation would be revised and later publicized by the State Council for enforcement, according to the meeting.

The government also reiterated its stance of sticking to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" established by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

The government would continue to work with other countries and play a constructive role for the success of the Copenhagen conference, according to the statement.

China would also include its strategy against climate change into its economic and social development planning, it said.

The country would work hard to fulfil the target of reducing energy consumption for every 10,000 yuan (US$1,470.6) of GDP by 20 percent by 2010, raising the ratio of renewable energy to 10 percent of the total, and achieving a forest coverage of 20 percent by then, in its effort to fight the climate change.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2009)

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