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China focuses on air pollution


November 05, 2003

To fight t air pollution and acid rain, China is cracking down on its energy programs: the Chinese government has just ordered a halt to the construction of new coal-fired power plants in several major cities.
According to China Daily, Beijing, Shanghai and 21 provincial capitals are covered by the order. According to Chinese environmental protection agency SEPA, coal plants released more than 6.6 million metric tons of sulfur dioxide in 2002, some 33% of the country's total emissions. Sulfur dioxide is the leading cause of the acid rain that affects one third of China.

Steps are also being taken in 137 power plants to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. The government clearly aims to achieve energy self-sufficiency.
In 2008, at the current rate of growth, the country will consume the equivalent of Kuwait's oil production. Beijing is looking for other energy sources, with an apparent preference for nuclear-generated electricity.