China environment worsening, could miss energy goals
Saturday 13 March 2010
China's environment is "still deteriorating", a senior official said Wednesday, as the booming nation burnt record amounts of coal and lagged behind in meeting its energy-saving goals.
Following 30 years of explosive growth, China's is on track to overtake Japan as the world's second-largest economy, but that success has made it one of the most polluted nations in the world.
"Our environmental quality is only improving in certain areas, but overall the environment is still deteriorating," Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun told journalists.
Coal burning is a major culprit, providing the nation with up to 70 percent of its energy needs, but city waste and run-off from agriculture is also severely fouling the nation's water supply.
Zhang said although China was fulfilling its 2006-2010 goals of cutting sulphur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand - major causes of air and water pollution, respectively - emissions of other pollutants were rising.
Efforts to remove sulphur from coal resulted in less sulphur dioxide pollution in China last year, he said, despite the nation burning over three billion tonnes of the fossil fuel in 2010, an annual record.
Xie Zhenhua, who represented China at international climate change talks in Copenhagen in December, said 2010 would be a "decisive year" for the country in terms of meeting its energy-saving targets.
China had reduced its energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by just over 14 percent from 2006-2009, but needed to cut consumption by about six percent in 2010 to reach its five-year target, he said.
"There is still a large gap to reach our energy saving goals - the task will be difficult," admitted Xie, the vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency.
China, the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases, pledged in Copenhagen to reduce carbon intensity - the measure of greenhouse-gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product - by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels.
That goal is not legally binding.
Beijing announced Tuesday it would back the deal sealed in the Danish capital, removing doubts that it was not fully on board.
Xie reconfirmed that decision at Wednesday's press conference.
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Carbon dioxide accumulates as seas and forests struggle to absorb
Campaigners lobby Duchess of Cornwall to persuade her son-in-law to cease Knebworth solar farm
Sea levels rising too fast for Thames Barrier
Spiders and frogs identified among 50 new species
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...