Beijing rules out construction of new cement, alcohol plants

Updated: 2007-06-24 09:16
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With central authorities bearing down on energy-guzzling, heavily polluting industries, the Beijing Municipal Government has moved to outlaw the construction of six categories of factory to save energy and protect the environment.

The sectors are alcoholic beverages, cement, plate glass, limestone production, iron and steel casting, and steel ore and gypsum mining. These sectors either consume too much energy or generate serious environment pollution, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Industrial Development.

This is part of Beijing's efforts to reduce energy consumption and water consumption by 33 percent and 39.8 percent respectively by the end of the 11th five-year-plan period (2006-2010), the Beijing News reported.

Beijing has worked out energy consumption standards for 65 sectors such as automobile and machinery manufacturing, bioengineering and medicine, and information technology, according to the just issued Beijing Industrial Indexes for Energy and Water Consumption.

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Firms who fail to meet the standards will not be allowed to launch new projects, asked to restructure or even shut down, according to the new standards.

The industrial indexes will be readjusted every two years in accordance with the industrial and economic development in Beijing, the bureau said.

The Ministry of Supervision said recently that it would intensify monitoring and punish departments who violate regulations on energy-saving and pollution control.

Local governments or departments in charge of industry have been warned of serious punishment if they fail to implement state regulations and policies, soft-pedal on energy saving and pollution control standards or launch new projects without an environmental evaluation.

The State Council published a circular at the beginning of this month asking all local authorities, government departments and companies to report before June 30 their detailed plans for carrying out the General Work Plan for Energy Conservation and Pollutant Discharge Reduction.

The General Work Plan, jointly developed by theNational Development and Reform Commissionand other government departments, sets a target of reducing energy consumption per unit ofgross domestic product(GDP) by 20 percent and major pollutants discharge by 10 percent in the11th five-year planperiod ending 2010.

The Chinese government has reiterated its intention to meet strict energy efficiency and pollutant reduction targets although it failed to achieve the goal set for 2006.

The six high energy-consuming and highly polluting industries -- electricity, steel, nonferrous metals, construction materials, oil processing and chemicals -- which account for nearly 70 percent of energy consumption and sulfur dioxide discharges of the entire industrial sector, grew by 20.6 percent in the first quarter of 2007, 6.6 percentage points higher than the same period a year earlier.