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Energy saving key to growth - document
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-15 05:47

Recycling is the means by which China will develop a so-called circular economy, according to a document the State Council is to release to provincial and local governments.

The document, to be made public at the end of this month, will also urge the public to be more aware of the importance of conserving resources.

The circular economy concept is that one facility's waste output - including energy, water, materials, and information - can be another facility's input. In theory, waste and emissions can be zero during the process of economic development.

"Those are among the government's major steps to sustain stable economic growth," said Zhai Qing, a deputy department director of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The government will draw from international experiences in its efforts to quadruple the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.

Zhai said that his commission will hold a high-level forum on resource efficiency on June 24-26. The State Council Development and Research Centre and a group of cabinet ministers will attend the event. Experts, chief executive officers and officials worldwide are invited to share their resource-saving ideas. The aim is to help China realize the goal of increasing per-capita GDP from the current US$1,000 to US$3,000 in 2020 in spite of growing population, Zhai said.

"To gain sustainable development, China must stop its startling waste in resource exploitation and take measures to protect the worsening environment," Zhai said.

According to an earlier government report, the reckless exploitation of resources has led to shocking waste. It cited Shaanxi Province, where only 30 per cent of the coal is mined while 70 per cent is left underground forever. From 1949 to 2003, Shaanxi coal output totalled 35 billion tons.

Feng Fei, a department director of the State Council Development and Research Centre, also said that development based on a circular economy will be essential for China to sustain its fast-paced economic growth while mitigating negative environmental impact.

Last week, China and the United Nations entered into a 12-year programme to tackle the problem of growing energy demand and severe energy shortage.

Alongside the Global Environment Facility, which provides US$17 million for the first three-year phase of the programme, the Chinese Government will co-finance US$31 million, and the Chinese business sector has agreed to contribute US$32 million for technical upgrades. The money will mainly be used to improve energy use in industry and building sectors.

"I believe that through the programme of intervention, efficiency of the major end-use energy sectors will improve dramatically," said Khalid Malik, UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in China. It is estimated that the first three-year phase will result in carbon emission reductions of approximately 12 million tons.

(China Daily 06/15/2005 page1)

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