China is placing environmental issues on top of its reform list. The country will adopt a brand new set of performance measures for local governments, taking in a healthy environment, such as air quality as part of key performance indicators.
China's environmental issues are getting some major policy support. The Central Government has put environmental condition into key performance index, as a measure to evaluate local government's performances. This means, the Chinese Government would not only take GDP growth number as a main gauge.
Xu Shaoshi, Minister of National Development and Reform Commission, said this new measure hopes to bring a stop to environmental sacrifice in exchange for economic development.
"First of all, we consider index scheme for performance measures of local governments. We can't simply look at GDP, but we should take in more factors that reflect our resource and environment, people's livelihood. So it's very important to improve the measuring scheme," he said.
He said this scheme will be accompanied by law and regulations that restrict development of land and space, and use of resources. He also said more efforts will be put into the development and usage of clean energy, in order to reduce carbon emission. This is an area facing big challenges, as carbon emission reduction is currently behind target.
"Energy consumption per unit of GDP has dropped 3.6 percent in the first three quarters of this year, there is still a bit of distance to our annual target of 3.7 percent. To achieve our target of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) is even harder next year or the year after the next. Carbon emission is also reducing, but not as much as we have hoped. Pressure is huge there," he said.
According to official data, 11 out of 31 provinces and municipalities have seen less-than-satisfied energy saving status in the first three quarters. The CPC's third plenary meeting has set healthy environment as one of the five key focuses.
(CNTV.cn November 20, 2013)