BEIJING -- China's State Council, or cabinet, has urged local governments and companies around the country to "earnestly carry out" a plan for energy efficiency and pollutant discharge reduction.
The State Council on Sunday published a circular asking all local authorities, government departments and companies to report before June 30 their own detailed plans for carrying out the General Work Plan for Energy Conservation and Pollutant Discharge Reduction.
The General Work Plan was jointly worked out by the National Development and Reform Commission and other government departments, and sets a target to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent and major pollutants discharge by 10 percent in the 11th five-year plan period ending 2010.
The General Work Plan was issued in the wake of the failure to reach the goal for energy saving and discharge reduction last year -- cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by four percent and discharges of major pollutants by two percent.
Given the efforts and progress made to hit last year's target, the State Council circular said, the failure "adds difficulties to energy saving and discharge reduction in the remaining four years of the 11th five-year plan period".
To make the situation even more serious, it said, electricity, steel, nonferrous metals, construction materials, oil processing and chemicals, the six high energy-consuming and highly polluting industries, "grew excessively fast in the first quarter of this year".
The industries, which account for nearly 70 percent of energy consumption and sulfur dioxide discharges of the entire industrial sector, grew by 20.6 percent in the first quarter, 6.6 percentage points higher than the same period a year earlier.
The circular also criticized "all sides" for their poor awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and pollutant reduction.
"If we fail to take immediate measures to reverse the situation, it will be difficult for us not only to make obvious progress in energy saving and discharge reduction this year, but also to reach the overall goal for the 11th five-year plan period," the circular said.