China is focused on clean energy innovation, such as alternative-fuel cars, to meet its commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions but the country's booming economy is making it difficult to meet an energy efficiency target for this year, a senior Chinese official said Thursday.
Vice Minister of Science and Technology Zhang Laiwu said China's goal of reducing its energy intensity by 20 percent over a five-year period that ends this year remains uncertain.
'We still have a lot of challenges to meet. We should not be too optimistic about that. Our task remains arduous,' Zhang told a news conference.
A five-year government plan to increase energy efficiency suffered a setback this year as China's economic recovery and a construction boom boosted demand for steel, cement and other energy-intensive products China had cut energy intensity by 14.4 percent in 2009 but the country's economic rebound pushed energy intensity back up by 0.09 percent in the first half of this year.
China has made key strides in many areas of clean technology, including solar, wind, and alternative fuels, but much of country's difficulty lies in the fact its economic development over the past three decades has relied on labor-intensive and energy-intensive growth, Zhang said.
'We had a resource-intensive growth pattern with very low labor costs ... The essential issue for us is whether or not we are able to move from low-end to high-end, and change from a resource-based economy to science and technology-based and knowledge-based economy' he said.