March 23, 2014 / 12:50 PM / 5 years ago

China premier says environment protection will spur growth

BEIJING, March 23 (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that efforts to improve the country’s environment would create new business opportunities, state news agency Xinhua reported.

“Environmental work and economic expansion shall be coordinated, because reducing production capacity creates huge business potential for new, green industries,” Xinhua cited Li as telling a meeting.

China will control total energy consumption with higher efficiency, while optimising industrial infrastructure with smart power grids and clean energy like wind power, nuclear power, hydropower and solar power generation, he added.

Li stressed developing the service industry, which “consumes less energy but provides job opportunities, by lowering the threshold of market access with more policy incentives”, Xinhua said.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, will carry out both open and secret probes into energy saving and emission cuts this year, to ensure the environment is being properly protected, Li added.

Despite repeated pledges to clean up China’s seriously polluted environment, especially in the highly industrialised east, little apparent progress appears to have been achieved. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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