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Industrial zones come clean due to green drive

11-11-2010 11:27 BJT

With its designer architecture, wide boulevards and manicured garden, Qianjiang Economic Development Zone stands in stark contrast to the traditional image of dirty industrial parks spitting out smelly smoke from tall chimneys.

Young residents of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, use pedal power during a low-carbon campaign held in the city in March.(Zhu Yinwei/For China Daily)

The zone is the epitome of Hangzhou's ongoing quest to carve a new path to prosperity without putting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Embracing only clean and green businesses, Qianjiang provides favorable incentives, such as cheap land rental and tax relief, but sets stringent standards for pollution levels and energy consumption.

The project is one of just many now running nationwide as China strives to reduce its overall carbon emissions.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the government body that steers the economy, has listed 13 cities and provinces as pilot low-carbon areas, with a view to identifying practices and policies that can help the country reach its carbon intensity target.

Before last year's Copenhagen climate conference, the Chinese government announced it will cut carbon emissions for every unit of economic output by 40 to 45 percent on 2005 levels within the next 10 years.

Although ambitious plans were unveiled to use more clean energy and increase forestry coverage, no concrete guidelines were published in terms of how to go low-carbon until now.

However, without any domestic experiences to draw on, pilot areas must start from scratch and strive for success by testing new development models that evaluate both growth rate and pollution.

Officials in these cities and provinces have to work out independent emissions targets, integrate them into social and economic development programs, transform economic structures, encourage citizens to change their lifestyles and set up mechanisms to report and monitor emissions, as stipulated by NDRC.

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