State Council sets out guidelines for saving energy
Document reveals officials' concern about power shortages
A wide-ranging directive for an all-out effort to conserve energy and resources has been issued by the State Council following a similar appeal by Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday.
In a move that analysts say highlights extreme concern in government circles about power shortages, the lengthy document sets out detailed instructions for all sectors on ways to reduce energy consumption and promote renewable energy.
Offices and homes nationwide should set the temperature of air conditioners one or two degrees Celsius higher this summer, said the directive, carried by Xinhua yesterday.
Architects in Beijing and Tianjin should also design buildings with a view to cutting energy consumption by a nation-leading 65 per cent. Elsewhere, a 50 per cent energy saving standard will suffice.
On Monday, Mr Wen appealed to government officials to set a good example in energy saving by, for example, setting the temperature of air conditioning at 26 degrees Celsius.
Yang Chunping, director of the National Development and Reform Commission's management research centre, said the directive showed the central government was extremely concerned about energy shortages, and was keen to change the public's perception of the problem.
'Changing people's notion of energy saving in their daily life is very important as the first step for the promotion of building a resources-saving society,' he said.
Mr Yang stressed that the aim of the directive was to reduce energy consumption by promoting energy conservation and sustainable energy development.
'We are telling the citizens that everyone has the obligation to contribute to the building of a resources-saving society - every small thing in their daily life does matter,' he said.
Mr Yang said the comprehensive guidelines in the directive were the result of research by academics in a wide range of fields over the past few years that had been studied by the State Council.
The directive said the government would give priority to several key projects this year, including energy conservation and the search for oil substitutes, more efficient heating and electricity production, energy-saving issues in building design and environmentally friendly illumination.
The commission will lead the national energy efficiency drive, co-ordinating and collaborating with other government organs.
'This notice is just a very small part in our task. We need a more comprehensive proposal in the future, including efforts to perfect our laws in some specific areas,' Mr Yang said.
He added that the National People's Congress was planing to amend laws to emphasise the need to conserve energy.
'We will encourage the import of sustainable and recyclable technologies from overseas to speed up our efforts to build a resources-saving society.'
A study by the commission said the mainland could face an energy shortage equivalent to at least 2 billion tonnes of coal a year by 2050 unless it tried to curb demand.
Some forecasts warn that the country will only be able to supply less than half of its petroleum needs from domestic sources by 2020.
ORDERS FROM THE TOP
Must save water, speed up replacement of water pipes and promote recycling
Enhance public transport systems
Construct energy-efficient buildings that use 50 per cent less energy
Must use water-saving irrigation systems
Use land intensively
Explore new energy sources such as marsh gas, straw, excrement
Must promote energy saving, particularly in heavy industries
Promote new industries focusing on developing sustainable energy sources
Develop hydraulic, wind, solar, biological and other sustainable systems