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Premier Li stresses path of progress, preservation

Zhang Yue
Updated: Nov 16,2016 8:40 PM

China will combine efforts in environmental protection and ecological restoration to ensure a greener, more sustainable development, according to the country’s newly approved guideline for environmental protection during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

The guideline was approved at the State Council’s executive meeting on Nov 15, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The Chinese government has always put environmental protection and ecological preservation at the top of the agenda, as President Xi Jinping once said, “We should stay committed to the basic state policy of conserving resources, protecting the environment like we protect our eyes, treating the environment like it is our lives.”

He stressed that protecting and improving the environment is tantamount to maintaining and developing productivity.

Premier Li once also said that a good ecological environment is an indispensable part of improving people’s living standards, and stressed improving the environmental protection system.

China went beyond its goal for environment protection during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), with carbon intensity dropping by 2o percent, a major contribution to worldwide efforts against climate change.

This time, the new guideline makes it clear that equally strong efforts are required both in environmental protection as well as ecological restoration, stressing efforts to restore nature while minimizing industrial disruptions to the environment.

It sets the goal of achieving a more environmentally friendly way of living, considerable reduction in major pollutant emissions, and a sounder ecological system by 2020.

A set of measures will be implemented. Red lines will be drawn on emission control, and the government will encourage the development of energy-efficient industries. It also gives priority to efforts in air, water and soil quality protection in the next five years. Projects in controlling industrial pollutants will be implemented. The government will also impose stricter and more comprehensive risk controls on heavy metals, hazardous waste and toxic chemicals.

Institutional innovation and modern regulatory measures in environmental protection and ecological restoration are also required according to the new guideline. Investment and participation from local governments as well as business communities will be welcomed, and the government plans to offer them more diversified financing channels.

“We are committed to a development pathway that delivers economic progress and environmental improvements side by side,” Premier Li stressed.