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March 10th, 2009:

Green Drive Falls Short, Admits NPC Chairman

Kristine Kwok – SCMP – Updated on Mar 10, 2009

The mainland has fallen well short of its goals to cut emissions of major pollutants and the amount of energy consumed per unit of gross domestic product, a top leader has admitted.

“To a great extent, this showed that the pattern of China’s economic development has not been transformed fundamentally,” National People’s Congress chairman Wu Bangguo said yesterday.

“Serious problems such as mounting pressure on resources and the environment, increasing difficulty in expanding employment, and insufficient consumption still exist.”

The government’s prospects of nearing its targets are slim this year, given the challenges Beijing faces in ensuring economic growth amid the global financial crisis.

The government has said that the 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.5 trillion) stimulus package announced late last year would not undermine environmental protection efforts.

But the deputy minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Pan Yue, said last week the push for a “green GDP”, which would factor in the economic effects of environmental damage, had stopped.

Mr Wu said China had also failed to achieve desired progress in the services and the research and development sectors last year.

“We proposed that the State Council and relevant departments attach great importance to these problems,” he said.