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China's environmental protection crucial to the world
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China's endeavor to enhance environmental protection, energy-saving and gas emission-cut and build a resource-conserving society is of great significance to the world, said Klaus Toepfer, former chief of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"Such a move is in the interest of the entire world, and meets the need of the global sustainable development," he added.


"As a member of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), I have seen the strong determination of China's leadership," said Toepfer.

"The performance of the Chinese central and regional governments during the process of urbanization also makes me believe that it has become the consensus of all the governments to protect the environment, save energy, cut greenhouse gas emission, and to build an resource-conserving society."

The expert took Shanghai as an example. "The Shanghai government is fully aware of the importance of an energy-saving and resource-efficient structure."

To make Shanghai an eco-friendly city, the municipal government has taken measures such as building more sewage processing facilities, limiting the number of cars to help ease traffic jam and improve air conditions, he said, describing them as quite impressive.

He also noted many changes in the government's policies concerning manufacturing and service industries, an indication of China's new approach to environmental protection and energy conservation.

For instance, China has given higher priority to the proper handling of carbon dioxide emission. The country has also actively been engaged in the research and development of electricity-powered cars and cars that use alternative energy.

More to be done

However, despite the positive results, more needs to be done in China, the former U.N. environment chief said.

China still needs to make tremendous efforts to tackle tough challenges such as to protect water resources, reduce air pollution and enhance energy efficiency, he added.

Toepfer suggested that China introduce advanced new technologies on environmental protection and energy-saving from other countries, and actively participate in international cooperation projects on environmental protection and energy conservation as the country already has a strong scientific and economic capability.

On the negative impacts of of the ongoing financial crisis on environmental protection and energy conservation, Toepfer said the impacts are obvious, but only of short duration. As governments' measures to stabilize financial markets take effect, environmental protection and energy conservation will again become the world's major concern, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2008)

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