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China vows to reduce emissions
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China will continue its drive of energy saving, emissions reduction, ecosystems preservation, and environment protection in 2009, Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing Thursday.

The government will emphasize energy conservation in the three key areas of industry, transportation and construction, Wen told nearly 3,000 lawmakers in a report at the annual session of the National People's Congress.

Wen gave out a set of measures to achieve environment protection, ranging from energy conservation and clean energy to pollution prevention.

"We will implement energy-conserving measures for power generators, boilers, automobiles, air-conditioners and lighting products," said Wen, adding that the government will strictly enforce the monitoring system for energy conservation and emissions reduction.

He called for government-affiliated enterprises and institutions to play an exemplary role in energy conservation and emissions reduction.

Wen also noted that energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 4.59 percent in 2008 from the previous year.

"The figure shows the government has done solid work in emissions reduction and energy saving," said Zhao Suping, a lawmaker from central China's Henan Province.

In its 11th five-year plan (2006-2010), China set targets to annually reduce the per unit GDP energy consumption by 4 percent and in total by 20 percent in five years.

However, some experts worried that, affected by the global financial crisis, Chinese enterprises may have less impetus for spending on emission reduction in 2009, and thus the country is faced with greater pressure of emission reduction.

"Under the present circumstance, we should guard against that some departments may oppose the economic development with energy saving and emission reduction," said Chen Min, deputy director of the provincial environment protection bureau of Guangdong.

"The economic structure adjustment and technology upgrading should be pushed forward in line with economic growth," said Chen, also an NPC deputy.

The development of energy saving and emission reduction industry may also stimulate economic development, said Chen, referring to a successful practice started last year by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The commission said Tuesday that with subsidies from the central and local governments, 62 million energy-saving bulbs had been distributed to households all over the country as of January this year, 24 percent higher than the target set previously.

The commission has planned to distribute 150 million energy-saving bulbs during the 2008-2010 period.

If fully implemented, the plan will help the whole country to save 29 billion kwh of electricity and reduce 29 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2009)

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