06/13/2006, 00.00
CHINA
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Government pulls the 'plug' on civil servants

State Council tells seven million civil servants to do without cars, elevators and air conditioning. Their annual electricity consumption is equal to that of 780 million farmers.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Chinese government has ordered civil servants to do without cars, elevators and air conditioning today. The official China Daily newspaper said that government employees were targeted in the one-day ban so they could serve as an example to others and because they use so much energy.

The paper said China's seven million public servants consume about five per cent of the country's total electricity per year, equal to the electricity consumed annually by 780 million farmers.

The State Council told central employees to leave their cars at home in favour of walking or taking public transport, to take stairs instead of elevators and to keep the air conditioning off. According to the China Daily the order is likely to be repeated in the coming months.

Three decades of breakneck economic growth has left China facing serious energy and environmental problems. This has forced the government to take emergency measures each year. For example, last year it introduced a daily schedule for household appliances to stop repeated blackouts in the capital.

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