China ramps up efforts to go green

BY PETE SANKEY
Senior associate editor
sankeyp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 20, 2017

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BEIJING, China — Often criticised for heavy air pollution, especially here in the capital, China has vowed to take further steps to tackle environmental problems affecting the Asian giant.

“We will step up efforts to establish a legal and policy framework that promotes green production and consumption, and promote a sound economic structure that facilitates green, low-carbon, and circular development,” President Xi Jinping told the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People.

Said Xi: “We will create a market-based system for green technology innovation, develop green finance, and spur the development of energy-saving and environmental protection industries as well as clean production and clean energy industries. We will promote a revolution in energy production and consumption, and build an energy sector that is clean, low-carbon, safe, and efficient,” the Chinese president told the congress.

The Chinese Government, said Xi, will also be encouraging conservation across the board and promoting recycling, taking action to get everyone conserving water, cutting consumption of energy and materials, and establishing linkages between the circular use of resources and materials in industrial production and in everyday life.

“We encourage simple, moderate, green and low-carbon ways of life, and oppose extravagance and excessive consumption [and] will launch initiatives to make party and government offices do better when it comes to conservation, and develop eco-friendly families, schools, communities, and transport services,” Xi told delegates.

He promised to get all Chinese involved in improving the environment and address environmental issues at the root.

“We will continue our campaign to prevent and control air pollution to make our skies blue again. We will speed up prevention and control [of] water pollution, and take comprehensive measures to improve river basins and offshore area. We will strengthen the control of soil pollution and the restoration of polluted soil, intensify the prevention and control of agricultural pollution from non-point sources, and take measures to improve rural living environments,” Xi pledged.

In addition, he promised that the Chinese Government will:

• Improve its systems of credibility assessment based on environmental protection performance for mandatory release of environment information, and for imposing severe punishment for environmental violations;

• Establish an environmental governance system in which government takes the lead, enterprises assume main responsibility, and social organisations and the public participate;

• Get actively involved in global environmental governance and fulfil commitments to emissions reduction.

In addition, the Chinese president said his Administration will be carrying out major projects to protect and restore key ecosystems, improve the system of shields for ecological security, and develop ecological corridors and biodiversity protection networks to strengthen the quality and stability of the country's ecosystems.

“We will promote afforestation, take comprehensive steps to control desertification, stony deserts, and soil erosion, strengthen wetland conservation and restoration, and better prevent and control geological disasters,” said Xi.

The government, meanwhile, will be strengthening overall planning, organisation and leadership for building an ecological civilisation, and establish regulatory agencies to manage State-owned natural resource assets and monitor natural ecosystems, and improve environmental systems. These agencies, said Xi, will, in a unified way, perform the duties of the owner of public-owned natural resources assets, the duties of regulating the use of all territorial space and protect and restore ecosystems.

The agencies will also be responsible for monitoring the discharge of all pollutants in urban and rural areas and conduct administrative law enforcement.

“What we are doing today is building an ecological civilization [which] will benefit generations to come. We should have a strong commitment to socialist ecological civilization and work to develop a new model of modernisation with humans developing in harmony with nature.

“We must do our generation's share to protect the environment,” said the Chinese president.

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