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Low-carbon lifestyle finds support at China's "two sessions"

Chen Yu was surprised when he registered Tuesday for the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body.

Chen, a member of the CPPCC National Committee from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, received a notepad and a document bag made of calcium carbonate, which he called a "low-carbon surprise."

Compared with ordinary paper, the new writing materials caused little pollution and helped protect the environment, Chen said.

"It (the new paper) feels soft and comfortable," he said. "I was surprised."

It is the first use of calcium carbonate paper, dubbed "stone paper" at the annual plenary sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC, China's top legislature) and the National Committee of the CPPCC, known as "two sessions."

The CPPCC National Committee session is to convene in Beijing Wednesday afternoon and the plenary session of the NPC will open on Friday morning.

The Champion of the Earth company, which supplied the NPC and the CPPCC with the cheap and degradable calcium carbonate paper products, said they produced the wood-free sheet with new technologies featuring a water-free and fibre-free papermaking process.

The new papersheet is about 20 percent to 30 percent cheaper than the ordinary paper.

According to the company, the groundwood in the paper making is replaced by low-cost precipitated calcium carbonate, while the boiling, washing and bleaching process that needs strong acid, strong alkaline and chlorinated lime and causes pollution is abandoned.

Pu Cunxin, a famous actor and member of the CPPCC National Committee, shared Chen's excitement at the introduction of calcium carbonate paper.

Pu saw its use at the "two sessions" this year as a gesture by the government to boost energy conservation and emissions reduction.

"It definitely has an example-setting effect," Pu said.

 Wang Baojun, a deputy to the NPC from northeast China's Liaoning Province, brought a bill to the annual plenary session this year, calling for a low-carbon lifestyle among the entire society.

"Air conditioners are excessively relied on and throwaway chopsticks are used too widely," Wang counted on his fingers the high-carbon consumption behavior that his bill targets. "We must act swiftly and advocate a low-carbon lifestyle now."

In his bill, Wang proposes rules and regulations on low-carbon development, and publicity, education and training campaigns advocating low-carbon lifestyles.

To reduce the use of paper, political advisors are uniformly dispatched with laptops, a paperless way enabling them to submit their proposals to the CPPCC National Committee.

At the press center of the two sessions, journalists are advised to use the Internet to download information and arrange interviews as printed media manuals are no longer handed out.

Zhang Jing'an, director of the information department with the General Office of the CPPCC National Committee, said the move to end printed media manuals was to implement the low-carbon requirements.

Zhao Qizheng, spokesman of the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC, said during a press conference Tuesday that many of the 2,000-strong political advisors attending the session had submitted proposals related to low-carbon economy development.

"'Low-carbon' was already been a key term in the session last year and I believe it will become the most popular one this year," Zhao said.

Non-Communist parties like the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang and China Zhi Gong Party proposed the establishment of a national scheme and market environment that encourages the development of low-carbon technologies.

China has heavily relied on coal to fuel its fast economic growth, but calls for a low-carbon economy have been rising.

In November last year, the government announced that by 2020, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be reduced by 40 percent to 45 percent from the 2005 level, the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption will be raised to around 15 percent.

"'Low-carbon' is not a faraway concept," said Hong Tianhui, member of the CPPCC National Committee and vice-chairwoman of China's National Working Committee on Children and Women. "To live a low-carbon life, everyone must begin saving one single drop of water, one kwh of electricity and a piece of paper."

Source:Xinhua
Date:Mar 10,2010