China's economy is going greener as the world's third-largest economy makes resolute efforts to save energy and reduce pollution.
The Chinese government has ordered to eliminate out-dated production facilities and set stricter rules on new project approvals in a bid to meet its energy saving and emission cut target.
Last year, China blocked 156 energy-guzzling and high-polluting projects involving 473.7 billion yuan (69.3 billion U.S. dollars) of investment, Zhang Lijun, vice environment minister, told a forum in the northern port city of Tianjin this week.
It also has allocated 210 billion yuan (30.7 billion U.S. dollars) out of the 4-trillion yuan economic stimulus package for energy conservation, emission reduction, and environmental protection, Zhang said.
China aimed to cut energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent and cut emissions of major pollutants by 10 percent between 2006 and 2010.
The energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped 10.1 percent from 2006 to 2008, official data showed.
Subinay Nandy, Country Director of UNDP in China, said at the forum that China is balancing economic growth and environmental protection as it has realized the economy should not grow at the cost of environment.
China's economy has experienced dramatic growth over the past three decades, but this miracle came with degrading rivers, lakes and air quality.
But the government has shifted its policy for sustainable growth and the ruling Communist Party of China even made "an energy-saving, environmentally-friendly society" a mandate in its charter.
As governments around the world focus on green growth, some experts even called it as an on-going Green Revolution, following major industrial revolutions of the mankind.
The green business is expanding rapidly in China. It is home to one-fourth of the world's Clean Development Mechanism projects and the world's biggest exporter of solar batteries. It is also the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines and expected to have the largest wind power generation capacity.
China has also become the world's second-biggest market for wastewater treatment. It invested more than 200 billion yuan in around 1, 550 sewage treatment factories by 2008, which handle 86 million tonnes of wastewater per day, Zhang said.
The daily wastewater treatment capacity would increase by 10 million tonnes this year, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Wu Changhua, director of Greater China of the Climate Group, said China's green revolution is not only giving emergence to highly promising industries amid the current global economic downturn, but also helping to protect the environment.
China has planned to increase investment on clean energy in the coming years. In 2007 alone, it invested about 12 billion U.S. dollars in such energy as wind and solar.
Zhang added that China's total investment in desulfurization of coal-fired power plants had reached 100 billion yuan (14.6 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2008.
(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2009)