Journalists, Report! China Urges Media Supervision of Energy Consumption
Last year, China failed to meet ambitious national targets for reducing pollution and energy consumption. This year, the central government is calling on state media to serve as watchdogs on these issues, "assist[ing] the authorities' efforts to control pollution... arousing the public's awareness of energy-saving and exposing problems and irregularities." Reporters have been encouraged to report, in-depth, "on the issues that most concern the public and ones that receive the most complaints." There are plenty of pollution stories - and complaints - out there in China, and though the booming economy's energy intensity is a major concern for the authorities, last year the country fell far short of its annual goal for reducing energy consumption. (By 2010 the national government intends to cut energy consumption per unit GDP by 20% from 2005 levels, sticking to the target that was in place before last year's setback.) It's encouraging to see government calling on media to play an active role, and so soon after the promulgation of new transparency regulations. The more environmentally educated China's consumers are, the better. But it remains to be seen how helpful probing journalists can be in influencing China's energy consumption - or the industry and construction sectors, which are crucial. And we can't help thinking back just a couple of weeks to the government's call for more citizen activism, put out not long after the jailing of a prominent environmental activist. ::Xinhua News Agency. Also see ::China's Green Revolution: How Far Will It (Not) Go?