Some local governments are investing heavily in high resources consuming
sectors, ignoring the central government's decision to save energy and reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)
officials said yesterday.
Failure to meet the central government's green targets, the officials fear,
could "indirectly hinder social harmony".
"The central government is committed to achieving the (green) targets but
some local governments have turned a blind eye to them," He Bingguang, deputy
director of an NDRC department, said at an energy saving forum in Beijing.
The official of NDRC's Resource Utilization and Environmental Protection
Department didn't name the wrongdoers, though.
State Council inspection teams recently found some local governments had been
giving preferential treatment to steel, cement and other high energy consuming
and polluting industries despite the top leadership's repeated warning that
"they are overheated and should be brought under control".
Local officials prefer such projects because they not only raise their areas'
economic output, but also help them get promoted, He said.
China needs "systematic reforms" to realize its goals of cutting energy
consumption per 10,000 yuan ($2,470) of GDP by 20 percent during the 11th
Five-Year Plan (2006-10).
For instance, apart from the economic growth rate, achievements in energy
saving, environmental protection and social development should also be used to
assess the performances of Communist Party of China (CPC) and government
officials, He said.
The central government's "unshakable commitment" to saving energy and cutting
emissions is a "political mission", he said.
Last month, the State Council set up a group, headed by Premier Wen Jiabao,
to oversee national efforts in energy efficiency and reduction in greenhouse gas
"The highest leadership has realized that if we fail in this endeavor, social
harmony could be affected," said He.
Some experts, however, said the "vicious circle" of development is already
threatening social harmony. The economy is still growing at a blistering pace as
proved by its 11.5 percent rise in first half of the year.
Dai Yande, deputy director of NDRC's energy department, said China's runaway
growth has come at the cost of high power consumption, especially coal that
accounted for nearly 70 percent of the country's total energy supply. That has
created a lot of nouveaux riches in the coal mining sector in North China.
Dai's study has found coal-mine owners to be the driving force behind rising
property prices in cities such as Beijing and Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang
"These nouveaux riches have invested a lot in the property market, partly
helping propel real estate prices in the past several years," Dai said. "We
don't see any sign of the realty market cooling down partly because of their
The income divide could widen further, Dai warned, because the value of their
property has been increasing by leaps and bounds. "From this point of view,
energy consumption has its special social implication in China."
(China Daily 07/23/2007 page1)