Wen Jiabao

Wen lays down law on saving energy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2005, 12:00am

Premier says air conditioner thermostats must not be set lower than 26 degrees Celsius in government offices

Premier Wen Jiabao has made a rare appeal for the mainland's government offices to step up energy conservation efforts, including a call for office temperatures to be set at 26 degrees Celsius.

In a 5,600-word speech at a national teleconference, he outlined comprehensive guidelines as parts of the country brace for a sizzling summer and possible brownouts.

'Government organs all over the country should take strict power-saving measures. In summer, the temperature of air conditioners must not be set at lower than 26 degrees Celsius in offices and meeting rooms,' Xinhua yesterday quoted Mr Wen as saying.

In his speech, Mr Wen repeatedly emphasised the importance of 'building a resources-saving society'.

Other guidelines for government buildings included a ban on night-time illumination and fostering energy conservation habits among civil servants, such as encouraging them to turn off lights when they leave the office.

'Wasting is shameful, but saving is honourable,' Mr Wen said.

He also called for more fundamental changes such as a rethinking of the mainland's economic development and opting for a 'new road of industrialisation'.

'Rapid economic development has led to huge wastage of natural resources and serious pollution,' he said, adding that the mainland could not afford any more environmental damage.

'We must centre on saving resources and improving efficiency in utilisation, and focus on the conservation of energy, water, raw materials and land resources.'

Mr Wen acknowledged the reckless expansion of cities and blind pursuit of luxury dwellings and goods was common, and accused local governments of failing to tackle the problems.

'This has resulted in a growing dependence on imports of some important minerals from foreign countries,' he said.

Mr Wen called for the development of oil substitutes and other energy-saving products, as well as conservation in the main energy-consuming industries, the development of energy-saving vehicles and farm machinery, and priority for public transport systems in cities.

'The central authorities have made it clear that efforts must be made to build a resource-saving society in China,' he said, adding it was a strategically important policy that held the key to the nation's future prosperity.

At the government level, Mr Wen explained the importance of building up a comprehensive accountability system for the public to monitor the implementation of energy-saving measures.

The mainland, which last year faced its worst power crunch since the mid-1980s, is gearing up for another summer of brownouts, with generators nationwide expected to crank out 25 to 30 gigawatts less than the amount of power consumers want to use.

One think-tank expert says the central government is establishing a National Energy Strategy and Plan aimed at saving up to a quarter of projected energy consumption by 2020.