China's Energy Saving Efforts Gather Pace in Q3
Author: Emma Graham-Harrison
In the July through September period the world's No.2 oil user reduced energy intensity, or the amount of energy it needs to generate each unit of GDP, by more than the 2.78 percent cut achieved in the first half of the year, the sources said.
They declined to give the exact figure, although the official Shanghai Securities News said it had reached 3 percent, a figure which could be sustained for the full year.
Beijing is pushing hard for greener, leaner growth after years of promoting economic expansion at any cost, because of concerns about energy security and the rising social cost of pollution. Dirty coal is China's main energy source, and it now relies on imports for almost half its oil needs.
The government has set a goal of cutting energy intensity 20 percent by 2010 that is often mentioned by top leaders in international discussions about climate change. They say it is evidence that China -- likely to become the world's top carbon dioxide emitter this year -- is tackling greenhouse gases.
And after the country last year fell short of its annual 4 percent target, it stepped up new measures. These range from clamping down on loans for polluters, to making energy efficiency a performance yardstick for officials seeking promotion, and setting targets for firms and provinces.
Underlining government concern, the State Council, China's cabinet, instructed ministries and local officials to ensure that all new projects have been properly authorised and meet land-use, energy efficiency and environmental protection criteria.
Premier Wen Jiabao said during a question and answer session on Monday that energy intensity fell only 1.8 percent over the first three quarters -- implying a dramatic fall-off in improvements after June -- but the government sources said the figure was actually for reductions in sulphur dioxide emissions.
(Editing by Lincoln Feast)