Making head and tail of eco-problems

By Xin Laizhe
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, March 10, 2016
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But the history of environmental degradation is long. And contrary to popular belief, it did not start with the reform and opening-up. Of course, the fast economic development of the past three decades or more aggravated it. That, however, is the price all countries have paid, continue to pay, and will pay in the future for economic development and prosperity. Moreover, it wouldn't be out of place to remind foreign critics eager to target China for all the wrong reasons that many of the country's polluting industries were producing goods (and still do) to satisfy the rest of the world's (especially the West's) consumption demand.

China is a country of more than 1.3 billion people. Its problems are different in nature and dimension than those of most other countries. It has to strike the right balance between environment protection and economic development, lest it leaves a large percentage of its population to the rigors of poverty and desperation.

This is exactly what the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) aims to do. Presenting the Government Work Report on the opening day of the National People's Congress annual session on Saturday, Premier Li Keqiang said China faces a tough battle to keep its economy growing by at least 6.5 percent every year over the next five years while creating more jobs and restructuring inefficient industries-which would include highly polluting industries.

Among the challenges China faces are tricky financial markets, slowing global trade and environmental degradation. And to improve the environment, the five-year plan aims to restrict total energy consumption to 5 billion tons of standard coal by 2020 and make water consumption more efficient.

China knows its environmental problems. It knows how to solve them too. Else, it wouldn't have been the largest investor in green energy.

Many consider Purple haze to be a psychedelic experience. Hendrix said it was a love song. Perspectives matter.

They do, especially when it comes to analyzing China's environmental problems.

The author is a writer with China Daily.

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