China approves law to promote sustainable economy

China's legislature passed a law calling for fiscal spending, tax breaks and other measures to promote sustainable economic growth via resource conservation and pollution control, official media said on Saturday.

The law, passed on Friday at the closing of the fourth session of the National People's Congress standing committee, has been signed by President Hu Jintao and will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, the Xinhua news agency said.

The law calls for closer monitoring of resource-intensive and heavily polluting industries such as steelmaking, non-ferrous metal production, power generation, oil refining, construction and printing, Xinhua said.

It will encourage industries to adopt water-saving technologies and use cleaner sources of energy such as natural gas and alternative fuels.

It also promotes recycling or making use of waste materials, including the recycling of maize straw, livestock waste and farming by-products to produce marsh gas.

China consumed 1.16 tonnes of coal equivalent for every 10,000 yuan of GDP in 2007, down 3.66 percent from 2006, and the government has set a 2010 target of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and emissions of major pollutants by 10 percent from 2005 levels, Xinhua said. (Reporting by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Peter Blackburn)

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