Greener path ahead

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

THE PLEDGE TO AC­CEL­ER­ATE IN­VEST­MENT IN tech­nol­ogy to save en­ergy and tackle pol­lu­tion sym­bol­izes a fun­da­men­tal change to­ward more sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, a change that is des­per­ately needed in the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy.

The State Coun­cil said on Sun­day that en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion has been el­e­vated to a “pil­lar in­dus­try” and it will re­ceive govern­ment sup­port in the form of tax breaks. Ac­cord­ing to a three-year plan, the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in­dus­try is to grow by 15 per­cent a year and will gen­er­ate 4.5 tril­lion yuan ($735 bil­lion) by 2015.

The flow of pri­vate and for­eign cap­i­tal to the sec­tor will be en­cour­aged as well to fa­cil­i­tate the plan.

The State Coun­cil has also vowed to ac­cel­er­ate equip­ment up­grad­ing and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and the re­cy­cling of re­sources, and it will seek to ex­pand the de­mand for en­ergy-sav­ing prod­ucts, such as elec­tric ve­hi­cles. It will also beef up en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion ser­vices and de­velop pol­lu­tion con­trol tech­nol­ogy.

Un­doubt­edly, in­creased ef­forts by the govern­ment to im­prove en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and save en­ergy will help pro­mote China’s on­go­ing eco­nomic re­struc­tur­ing, cre­ate new ar­eas of in­vest­ment and con­sump­tion, and es­tab­lish a more sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment mode.

The ini­tia­tive will set the coun­try on a more sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment path and will help ease the pub­lic’s con­cerns about the air, wa­ter and soil pol­lu­tion that have ac­com­pa­nied the coun­try’s rapid eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

It has be­come a con­sen­sus through­out so­ci­ety that the coun­try must make the tran­si­tion away from eco­nomic growth that com­pro­mises the en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lic health.

And, as one of the world’s ma­jor green­house gas emit­ters, any sub­stan­tial steps to­ward en­ergy sav­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion will mark a con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tion to in­ter­na­tional ef­forts against global warm­ing.

The el­e­va­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion to a pil­lar in­dus­try and the fol­low-up mea­sures also re­flect China’s un­yield­ing ef­forts to keep its com­mit­ment to the world in terms of car­bon emis­sion re­duc­tion de­spite the huge chal­lenge it faces in sta­bi­liz­ing its de­cel­er­at­ing econ­omy.

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