China's energy consumption per unit of GDP decreased by 2.88 percent year-on-year during the first half of this year, the government announced yesterday without giving immediate comment on the performance.
But the central government's recent repeated circulars and urgency placed on energy saving prior to the announcement have signaled that it is not satisfied with the progress, saying "tremendous efforts are needed" to meet the country's 2006-10 conservation target.
The figure was 0.1 percentage point more than the same period last year, according to a bulletin jointly released by the National Bureau of Statistics, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and National Energy Administration.
China has pledged to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent by 2010 from the 2005 level, which represents an annual decrease of 4 percent on average.
The government did not reveal how much China's energy intensity index during the first half of this year decreased from the 2005 level. Compared with the 2005 benchmark, it reduced by 3.66 percent in 2007 and 1.23 percent in 2006, which failed to meet the annual target.
Despite that China has accelerated its paces in energy conservation, NDRC's Vice-Minister Xie Zhenhua said there was still a long way to go as the country had just completed a quarter of its five-year goal during the past two years.
"We still need tremendous efforts to achieve the 20 percent goal," said Xie, who is in charge of coordination of the energy efficiency work.
During the first half of this year, energy consumption per unit of output in industrial enterprises with annual sales exceeding 5 million yuan ratcheted down 5.76 percent year-on-year.
The year-on-year drop was 6.74 percent for the coal sector, 4.05 percent for the iron and steel sector, 3.7 percent for the non-ferrous metal sector, and 9.98 percent for the building material industry.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said China's high energy-consuming industries experienced a growth slowdown in the first half of this year. The six biggest energy-guzzling sectors - electricity power, non-ferrous metal, chemicals, iron and steel, building materials and petroleum - recorded a growth of 14.5 percent in output value, 5.6 percentage points lower than the growth rate for the same period of last year.
Last month, the central government said in a bulletin that seven out of 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China failed to reach 2007's energy conservation targets.
And the governmental organizations at all levels were urged by the central government in a recent circular to enhance their energy-saving management, cultivate energy-saving product markets and disseminate energy-saving knowledge among the public.