China presses for cleaner production

Updated: 2010-11-23 10:02

By Lan Lan (China Daily)

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China presses for cleaner production

A worker at the construction site of the Huaxin Cement factory in Daoxian county, Hunan province. In 2009, China's GDP accounted for 8.5 percent of the total global volume, however, the country accounted for 52 percent of the world's cement consumption. [Photo / Bloomberg]

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BEIJING - Cleaner-production projects will get priority in market access, which is in line with the nation's efforts to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy consumption, a senior official said on Monday.

The benefits will extend to foreign investors' projects as well.

China is developing further policy mechanisms to make its energy-guzzling production cleaner and more efficient, Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Monday at the National Cleaner Production Meeting.

He said a unified auditing and assessment system for cleaner production is expected to come out soon. It will be used as an important threshold for project access and industrial transfer, as well as a priority in utilizing foreign investment.

"Without cleaner production, all binding targets to be set for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), such as the carbon intensity target, cannot be achieved," he said.

Cleaner production depends on cutting pollution and reducing energy consumption throughout the production process, including the design, manufacture and recycling.

The concept applies to everything from the manufacturing and agricultural sectors to construction projects and services.

Comprehensive promotion of cleaner production is a strategic step for China's green development and economic restructuring, Xie said.

China has enjoyed rapid economic growth, but that growth created some environmental problems.

"China is facing a bottleneck for resources, and our costs for economic growth are too expensive compared with those of developed countries," he said.

In 2009, China's GDP was 8.5 percent of the total global volume, however, the country accounted for 43 percent of the world's total crude steel consumption, 45 percent of total coal consumption and 52 percent of cement consumption, Xie said.

"High energy consumption brought high emissions, which placed unbearable pressures on the ecosystem. We are facing serious environmental challenges," he added.

The concept of clean production was introduced in China in the 1990s, and the government introduced legislation on the promotion of cleaner production in 2003.

Since then, China's campaign for cleaner production has made great progress, said Wu Xiaoqing, vice-minister of environmental protection.

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A series of modification projects have cut 2.27 million tons of chemical oxygen demand and 49.32 million tons of standard coal usage, as well as reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by 712,000 tons from 2003 to 2009, he said.

The government is also designing a market-based policy package to encourage enterprises to implement clean production. The options include tax reductions, and preferential policies for access to loans and financial support.

Companies acknowledged by the auditing and assessment system of cleaner production will also get preferential treatment in government contracts.

In 2009, energy saving and environmental protection products accounted for about 70 percent of the government's procurement among similar products, said Xie.


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