Not cool to be chilled at cost of en­vi­ron­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - IN THE SUM­MER OF 2007,

the State Coun­cil, China’s Cabi­net, is­sued a no­tice de­mand­ing air-con­di­tioned public build­ings keep the in­door tem­per­a­ture not lower than 26 C in sum­mer and not higher than 20 C in winter, and in­structed that win­dows and doors be kept shut, so as to save en­ergy and re­duce emis­sions. Yet some shop­ping malls and depart­ment stores in Bei­jing keep their in­door tem­per­a­ture at such a low level, while keep­ing their doors open, that peo­ple shiver when they step in­side. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­ments:

Since late last month when tem­per­a­tures soared, elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion in the cap­i­tal has risen sharply be­cause of the use of air con­di­tion­ers.

The mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment has called for com­pa­nies and res­i­dents to save en­ergy by keep­ing their in­door tem­per­a­ture at around 26 to 28 C, which is a com­fort­able and healthy tem­per­a­ture range.

The power con­sump­tion of air con­di­tion­ers in­creases 7 to 10 per­cent for each de­gree cooler they are set, and about 80 per­cent of the elec­tric­ity in China is gen­er­ated by burn­ing coal, which re­mains a pri­mary source of green­house gases and pol­lu­tion, de­spite the mea­sures adopted by power plants to re­duce them.

The shop­ping malls and stores are ob­vi­ously vi­o­lat­ing the in­struc­tions of the State Coun­cil’s no­tice and ig­nor­ing the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment’s ap­peal, but nei­ther has any legally bind­ing force, which is why they have largely been ig­nored.

Al­though their hefty power bills may not bother the build­ing own­ers given their sub­stan­tial busi­ness rev­enues, the dam­age done to the en­vi­ron­ment as a re­sult of their ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion is against the public’s in­ter­ests and goes against peo­ple’s ef­forts to build an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly so­ci­ety.

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