ISLAMABAD: As the second largest economy of the world, China has, one step at a time, done its due share of effort in environmental protection and green development, hoping to match the high-quality ecological environment with the country’s high-quality development.
Specifically, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently noted that the next five years will be a crucial period for building a Beautiful China, which should be placed in a prominent position in building a great modern socialist country in all respects and advancing national rejuvenation.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a national conference on ecological and environmental protection held from Monday to Tuesday.
The country should support high-quality development with a high-quality ecological environment and promote the modernization featuring the harmonious co-existence between human and nature, he noted, while acknowledging the “historic, transformative and comprehensive changes” the country has achieved over years.
Noting that China’s economy and society have entered a stage of high-quality development marked by faster progress in promoting green and low-carbon growth, Xi called for a higher standpoint, a broader perspective and stronger efforts in planning and advancing ecological and environmental protection on the new journey, as well as writing a new chapter of ecological conservation in the new era.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party in 2012, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the country has firmly upheld the belief that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. It has prioritized eco-environmental conservation and green development, and promoted the comprehensive green transformation of economic and social development, said a white paper titled “China’s Green Development in the New Era.”
The white paper, issued by the Chinese State Council in January this year, emphasizes that “green is the defining feature of China in the new era and green development features the Chinese path to modernization.”
Chinese modernization, a key term defining China’s journey to rejuvenation, which underlines the harmony between humanity and nature, has for the first time been written into a report to the CPC National Congress in October 2022, which unveiled the country’s blueprint for building a modern socialist China in all respects for the next five years.
Over the past decade, the Chinese government has invested more than 100 billion yuan ($13.93 billion) in supporting the construction of environmental infrastructure. It also allocated nearly 200 billion yuan for ecological protection compensation during the 13th Five-Year Plan period from 2016 to 2019.
China has also taken innovation as a driving force for economic development, helping its economy switch to green and high-quality growth.
The country is now the world’s largest producer of clean energy equipment. In 2021, the output value of the energy conservation and environmental protection industry exceeded $1.13 trillion.
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China’s new energy vehicle (NEV) sales reached 6.89 million units in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 93.4 percent, ranking the world’s top for eight consecutive years.
In the global context, China’s endeavor to green and low-carbon development has made tangible contributions in addressing climate change.
In 2020, the country proposed its strategic goal of reaching peak carbon use by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2060. The gap from peak to net zero emissions in China is only 30 years, compared to the 70-year span of European countries, making the challenge greater, according to experts.
“In the past 10 years, China has managed to fuel an average annual economic growth of 6 percent, with an average annual energy consumption growth of 3 percent,” Huang Runqiu, minister of Ecology and Environment, said at a national conference on ecological environment protection this year.
He noted that China has become a country to improve atmospheric quality with the fastest pace and its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP has dropped by around 35 percent over the past 10 years.
Besides tackling climate change, China has also proactively carried out green international cooperation.
In 2019, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) International Green Development Coalition was established to promote international consensus and joint actions on green development through dialogue and exchange, joint research, capacity building and industrial cooperation, attracting more than 150 Chinese and foreign partners from more than 40 countries.