China committed to sustainable development

By Wang Wei
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, July 30, 2010
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At the Third World Environmental Conference in Beijing on July 29, it was apparent that striving for a green economy has become the ideal, and some believe that despite steep challenges, China's government and enterprises are committed to sustainable growth as it transitions to an innovative economy.

The Third World Environmental Conference, Beijing, July 29. [Wang Wei/]

The Third World Environmental Conference, Beijing, July 29. [Wang Wei/]

Cheng Siwei, former vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, addressed the conference by touting China's double-digit GDP growth from 2003 to 2007, but made it clear there have been consequences.

"We have also paid heavy costs for all the environmental pollution, wasted resources and ecological deterioration," Cheng said.

He went on to cite an investigation that indicated environmental costs in 2005 of 13.5 percent surpassed the GDP growth figure of 10.4 percent.

Wang Maolin, first vice president of the Urban Economics Association, reinforced this theme.

"The government plays an important role in promoting the low-carbon economy. GDP is important, but only at the level of sustainable development. We can call it sustainably developed GDP," Wang said.

He asserted that while China moved confidently to a low-carbon economy, it could be trusted not to place high-emission industries in underdeveloped nations.

Wang criticized those developed countries that do burden developing countries with these industries. For example, the U.S. has proposed requirements for its domestic enterprises to curb carbon emissions; however, it must also apply abroad, Wang pointed out.

As China transitions from a manufacturing-intensive nation to an innovative one, there are warnings that greater regulation must be implemented.

"It's important to establish some technological standards with regard to green development and put them into laws or regulations," said He Jiankun, director of the low-carbon energy laboratory at Tsinghua University. "That requires the mutual interaction among enterprises, academia and the government. There's a long way to go, but we have been striving toward that."

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