BEIJING Dec 25 China is struggling to meet its
2011-2015 targets to reduce pollution, cut greenhouse gas growth
and introduce cleaner sources of energy, a report submitted to
the country's parliament said on Wednesday.
The report, which covers the 2011-2012 period, said
faster-than-expected economic growth was to blame for China's
failure to meet environmental targets ranging from energy use to
nitrogen oxide emissions.
The state of China's environment has come into particular
focus in 2013, with most major cities engulfed by hazardous smog
during the course of the year, including Beijing in January and
Shanghai earlier this month.
Desperate to head off growing public anger about the state
of the country's air, water and soil, Beijing has promised to
put an end to its "growth at all costs" economic model. It has
already introduced new policies aimed at reining in polluting
industries, cutting coal use and thinning traffic.
But the government report said China was already playing
catch-up, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
China wants energy intensity - the amount of energy consumed
per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) - to fall by 16 percent
over 2011-2015, but it had dropped by just 5.54 percent by the
end of last year.
Efforts to reduce the amount of carbon emissions per unit of
GDP by 17 percent over the same period were also behind
schedule, with the actual decline over 2011-2012 standing at
just 6.6 percent.
China also aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in
its total primary energy mix to 11.4 percent over the 2011-2015
period, but it had reached just 9.4 percent by the end of last
year, up only 0.8 percentage points since 2010.
The slow progress made over 2011-2012 could put additional
pressure on local governments to implement tougher measures
against polluters, and even shut down energy-intensive
industries like steel or cement.
At the end of 2010, northern China's Hebei and several other
provinces ordered dozens of steel mills to close down in a
last-ditch attempt to meet a binding 2006-2010 energy intensity
This month, several steel production facilities have already
been temporarily closed in Hebei in order to cut pollution, and
more closures are expected next year.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)