China's economic growth is outpacing environmental protection efforts and drenching the country in "out of control" acid rain, a leading government official has said. Wang Jian from the State Environmental Protection Administration told the China Daily that nationwide acid rain cost the Chinese economy RMB110bn (US$13.25bn) a year – equal to nearly 3% of the country's gross domestic product. The two main sources of acid rain are China's growing number of cars and the rapidly increasing consumption of cheap, abundant coal, which fires three quarters of the country's power plants. China is the world's largest source of sulphur dioxide (SO2) derived from burning coal, with emissions expected to increase by 6m tons in 2005, Wang said.
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