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China To Cut Emissions In 2011 With Drastic Action

Beijing

01/13/11 11:05 PM ET   AP

BEIJING — China said Friday it would cut emissions this year by rejecting construction projects that pollute too much and developing new technologies that curb greenhouse gases.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection set a target to cut emissions of major pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxide by 1.5 percent in 2011 compared to last year, a report on the ministry's website said.

China is the world's largest polluter, with energy demands growing sharply every year. The consumption boom reflects the country's transformation from a nation of subsistence farmers to one of workers increasingly trading bicycles for cars and buying energy-hungry home electronics.

Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian said in the report that construction projects that fail to meet environmental standards will not be approved or suspended.

New technologies, such as treatment plants for waste recycling and wastewater treatment, are also in development, Zhou said. Other measures include developing technology to remove sulfur, nitrogen and other polluting materials from industrial manufacturing.

It wasn't clear how the technologies being developed would be applied this year.

The report said more efforts will be made to control vehicle emissions and heavy-polluting industries such as paper-making, textiles, leather and chemical plants, but did not give any details.

In international climate change talks, Beijing has long said developed nations should make bigger cuts, reflecting their larger historical contribution to greenhouse gases. China also has resisted international pressure for it to take a larger role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

China's total 2009 energy consumption, including sources ranging from oil and coal to wind and solar power, was equal to 2.265 billion tons of oil, compared with 2.169 billion tons used by the United States, the Paris-based International Energy Agency said last year.

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Filed by Zoe Triska  |