Chinese lawmakers take off suits to save energy

Updated: 2007-06-29 01:54

Chinese legislators dressed in casual clothing on Thursday to discuss laws and hear reports as the temperature in the air-conditioned meeting rooms was increased to 26 degrees.

Members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), attending their 28th session, were all in their shirt sleeves for the first time with the temperature in the meeting rooms raised from 24 degrees centigrade.

"At first, we considered it appropriate for the country's top legislature to hold meetings with the lawmakers wearing suits and ties to match the solemnity of the occasion," said an official with the general office of the NPC Standing Committee.

"However, after discussion, we agreed that the NPC should act as a model to save China's limited energy resources."

President Hu Jintao wore a shirt instead of heavy suit when he delivered a keynote speech at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Monday, which was hailed by the media as a good promotion for the idea of energy saving.

Early this month, the State Council said room temperatures in air-conditioned public buildings should be set at a minimum 26 degrees centigrade, to save energy during the electricity demand peak in summer.

All government agencies, associations, groups, companies and private owners in public buildings should "strictly comply with this rule," the State Council said.

China's consumption of energy has soared as the economy has grown. The shortages of coal, electric power, petroleum and shipping capacity are the big challenges that China faces in its development.

As temperatures soared to 37 degrees in Beijing on Tuesday, air conditioning use lifted electricity consumption to 11.22 million kilowatts by late afternoon, the highest in history, but still short of the city's maximum capacity of 13 million kilowatts.

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