2008年6月21日 星期六

China Is Urged To Conserve Resources

China Is Urged To Conserve Resources

China is using double the amount of water, land and other natural resources that its ecosystem can provide over the long term, according to a new study by Chinese and international scientists.

The study of China's 'ecological footprint' -- which measures use of a range of natural resources such as farmland, timber, water, coal and even land for garbage dumps -- found that China still ranked low relative to the size of its population.

Still, China's use of resources has roughly doubled since the 1960s, said the study, published Tuesday by international environmental group WWF and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

The study warned if China were to consume as much as the U.S. on a per-person basis, 'China would demand the available capacity of the entire planet.'

The study used data mainly from 2003, the latest period for which a full range of data were available, WWF said in a statement. The results highlight a trend the authors say is continuing.

According to the study, China ranked 69th in the world in its use of resources per person, using just less than Syria. The U.S. was the second-highest country by that measure, after United Arab Emirates, while Japan ranked 27th.

The study defines a country's ecological footprint as the amount of biologically productive land and water area needed to meet the demands of the population.

China's average ecological footprint was only 1.6 hectares (3.9 acres) per person, the study found, far below the global average of 2.2 hectares. But in terms of what natural resources it can supply itself, China was calculated at 0.8 hectare, meaning it has a resources-deficit equal to half its need.

To make up for some of that deficit, China imports raw materials from countries such as Canada, Indonesia and the U.S. But much of that is then re-exported in the form of finished goods to the West, leaving China a net exporter of natural resources, the study found.

China needs to implement easy short-term solutions, such as using more energy-efficient light bulbs, but also look at longer-term planning, the study says. The country has 15% of the world's global 'biological capacity' -- the capacity to produce useful biological materials and to absorb waste -- compared with about 20% for the U.S.

'In the next 10 to 20 years, China's consumption will likely continue to pose threats to China's own ecosystems and place increasing pressures on global biocapacity,' the study says.

Li Lin, head of conservation strategies in China for WWF, said the study's most important point is that 'one can only manage what one can measure.'

China's leaders, she said, are 'taking the challenge on their shoulders, saying they are looking at this objectively; let's find out the real impact and what we can propose to change it.'

In at least one key area, China's leaders are resisting painful steps that some experts say could quickly boost efficiency: repealing state subsidies for energy products.

Tuesday, the head of China's State Energy Bureau, which oversees energy policy, reaffirmed a commitment to price controls for fuel products, saying they are necessary to maintain social stability. Zhang Guobao said China is committed to liberalizing fuel prices eventually, but that it has been delayed by the sharp rise in global oil prices, the Xinhua news agency reported. Passing on more of the cost of crude oil to end users could hurt industry and agriculture, which are heavily reliant on diesel fuel.

China last raised fuel prices in November, while there has been a near doubling in the international price of crude since that time. That has left domestic fuel prices about one-third lower than international rates.

Where other consumers such as Americans have felt the pain of rising crude and started using less, China oil demand continues to rise because consumers are insulated. Some experts believe raising fuel prices would help increase China's energy efficiency and reduce pollution by encouraging less use.

Tuesday, the Paris-based International Energy Agency raised its forecasts for China's growth in oil demand this year to 5.5%, from an earlier estimate of 4.9%, citing reconstruction efforts after last month's giant earthquake. The IEA now expects China to consume an average of about eight million barrels a day this year.

Shai Oster



國 際環境組織世界自然基金會(WWF)與中國環境與發展國際合作委員會(China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development)週二共同發佈了《中國生態足跡報告》。生態足跡通過農田、木材、水、煤炭以及垃圾處理用地等一系列自然資源的使用量﹐來衡量人類 對大自然的需求狀況。













中 國國家能源局局長張國寶週二重申﹐中國將暫緩成品油價格改革﹐他表示這有利於社會經濟穩定。據新華社報導﹐張國寶表示﹐中國也計劃最終放開成品油價格﹐但 全球油價飆升使得這一工作被迫暫緩。如果快速推進成品油價格與國際接軌﹐必將對工業、農業等嚴重依賴柴油的產業產生巨大衝擊。



總部位於巴黎的國際能源署(International Energy Agency)週二表示﹐考慮到上個月四川大地震的災後重建因素﹐決定將今年中國石油需求增長預期從早些時候的4.9%上調至5.5%。該機構目前預計﹐今年中國日均石油需求約為800萬桶。

Shai Oster