China is unlikely to meet its own energy
efficiency goals this year, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing data from the National Development and Reform Commission.
will fail to meet the target of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 4 percent this year, Xinhua said. Energy consumption
per unit of GDP actually increased by 0.8 percent in the first half of the year
and indexes for major pollutants have continued to rise, it said.
Higher export taxes will be used to curb exports of energy-intensive or
polluting goods, and energy-saving products could get tax preferences, in order
to get back on track in 2007, Xinhua said.
The country is behind schedule in its much-publicized goal of reducing energy
consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent in the five years from 2006 to 2010,
Xinhua said. It blamed local governments' resistance to "Green GDP" pilot
Green GDP attempts to account for the cost of environmental degradation along
with the economic growth figures that had previously been used to evaluate local
officials' performance. The exact method of its calculation is still unclear.
"A lack of economic motives is the fundamental reason for the local
governments' weakness in reducing energy consumption and improving environmental
protection," said Chen Qingtai, vice director of the economic committee under
the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, according to Xinhua.
Central authorities acknowledged that more efforts were needed to improve
energy efficiency and issued a stark warning to uncooperative local government
cadres in a recent national meeting to map out economic policies for 2007,
Earlier this year, Beijing removed or reduced value-added tax rebates on many
metals and other resources, to reduce the incentive to produce more than China
needs. It has also very publicly cracked down on projects and on local officials
in what it deems to be particularly egregious cases of wasteful growth.
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