SHANGHAI, June 15 China's cabinet approved new
measures to combat air pollution on Friday, in the latest step
by China's new leadership to address the country's enormous
environmental problems, with pollution a key source of rising
social discontent in China.
The government also promised to support China's troubled
solar power industry, despite problems with overcapacity and
ongoing trade disputes with the United States and Europe.
In a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the State
Council approved 10 anti-pollution measures, the council said in
a statement posted on its website late Friday.
In particular, the State Council promised to:
- Accelerate the installation of pollution control equipment
on small, coal-fuelled refineries.
- Curb the growth of high-energy-consuming industries like
steel, cement, aluminum, and glass.
- Reduce emissions per unit of GDP in key industries by at
least 30 percent by the end of 2017.
- Improve indicators used to evaluate the environmental
impact of new projects and deny administrative approvals,
financing, land, and other support to projects that fail to meet
- Strengthen enforcement and collection of fees and
penalties that companies pay based on their emissions.
- Use legal action to force industries to upgrade pollution
controls and establish or revise industry-level emissions
The country's new top leaders, who took power in a
once-in-a-decade political transition late last year, have
promised to tackle China's pollution problem. The government has
made similar promises over the last decade, but enforcement has
often been lacking, especially at the local level.
Protests over pollution are becoming more frequent in China,
as the country's increasingly affluent urban population begins
to object to the model of growth at all costs that has fueled
the economy for three decades.
Friday's State Council statement also acknowledged
difficulties afflicting China's solar industry but pledged to
maintain support for the industry through "reformed methods".
Specific measures include price support for the sale of
photovoltaic electricity to electricity grids and requiring grid
operators to purchase all the electricity that solar generators
(Reporting by Gabriel Wildau; Editing by Michael Perry)