China to spend on energy efficiency

China plans to spend Y41.8 billion (A$6.5 billion) on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reduction schemes this year, an increase in funding of 78 per cent from 2007, the Ministry of Finance says. The Chinese Government has set national targets to reduce its emissions by 10 per cent between 2006 and 2010, and reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent for every Y10,000 of gross domestic product during the period. In addition, local banks have been warned against lending to businesses with poor records of energy and environmental conservation, the Ministry adds. From the environmental fund, Y7.5 billion (A$1.16 billion) has been set aside for 10 energy-saving programs comprising technology upgrades in certain factories, substituting the use of oil with other types of fuels where possible, and replacing old lighting equipment with energy-saving ones. The Chinese Government will spend Y4 billion on closing inefficient coal-fired power and steel smelting plants, and Y5 billion on raising water safety standards in major rivers and lakes. China’s emissions of sulphur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand have been on the rise, propelled by its high economic growth.