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China To Step Up Environmental Protection Efforts

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by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 20, 2006
Chinese government officials who "sacrifice" the environment for economic development will be punished as part of stepped-up efforts announced Monday to control the nation's ecological degradation.

China's environmental and supervisory authorities said they would team up to investigate and better enforce existing anti-pollution laws.

"As the pace of economic development has sped up, a conspicuous lack of coordination between economic development and environmental protection has worsened daily," said a statement on the State Environmental Protection Administration's website.

"The appearance of paying too much attention to economic development and too little attention to environmental protection has resulted prominently in some laws not being enforced, others not enforced seriously and widespread violations of the law."

The new efforts will not only target polluting enterprises, but also seek to hold government officials who turn a blind eye to the environmental degradation legally responsible, the statement said.

"Leaders of some local governments and departments have not established a scientific view of development... and in a one-sided drive for economic development, have paid for it by sacrificing the environment," the statement said.

"All workers and officials at all levels, all responsible leaders of enterprises must maintain a responsible attitude toward the public and implement the new regulations in a complete and all around way."

The State Council, or China's cabinet, announced last week that environmental improvements, including the control of water, air and soil pollution, will be a major national priority over the next 15 years.

It requires environmental quality in key areas and cities to be improved by 2010 and "markedly improved" by 2020.

Source: Agence France-Presse

related report

China Begins Drive To Raise Energy Efficiency In Buildings
Beijing (AFP) Feb 16 - China plans to halve energy use to heat its buildings over the next five years, saving dwindling fuel resources and helping the global environment, officials said Thursday.

On average China burns 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of coal to heat one square meter of housing or office space each winter, but the target is to reduce it to 12.5 kilograms, said Wang Tiehong, the construction ministry's top engineer.

"If we can realize energy savings of 50 percent during a normal heating season, then we will be able to save one tonne of coal for every 100 square meters of constructed space," Wang told a briefing in Beijing.

If the plan is implemented, China could save 101 million tonnes of coal and reduce greenhouse gases significantly over the next five years, said Qiu Baoxing, Vice Minister of Construction.

"There is great potential in energy efficiency in the construction industry," Qiu told journalists.

"The construction of energy-efficient buildings and upgrading existing buildings will not only save energy, but also promote economic growth."

by 2010, China hopes to increase its energy-efficient floor space by a total area of 2.16 billion square meters (23 billion square feet).

Of this, about three quarters will be new construction and the rest upgraded construction, he said.

Energy-efficient construction includes the insulation of windows, doors and walls; low-energy lighting; better heating, gas and electrical systems; and alternative technologies like solar water heaters and terrestrial heat.

After 25 years of robust economic growth, the government has increasingly acknowledged that it has come at an environmental cost.

At the same time, it hopes great savings in energy and water can be made by ending wasteful and inefficient practices.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

Water Cut Off For 20 000 People After Latest Chinese River Toxic Spill
Beijing (AFP) Feb 19, 2006
Water supplies have been cut off to 20,000 people after another toxic chemical spill into a Chinese river, state press said Friday.

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