Hot Keywords: inspection air water soil pollution 
 
Actively Explore New Path for Environmental Protection, Promote the Green Transformation of Economic Development Mode--Speech by Minister Zhou Shengxian on 2011 AGM of CCICED

Dear Council members, experts, ladies and gentlemen, friends

Good afternoon!

It's my great pleasure to meet you all again. It is of great significance for the council members, experts and specialist to meet together, discussing the theme of "the green transformation of economic development mode" with the focus on the mainstream of economic and social development during China's 12th five year plan period. Here I would like to speak some words and exchange views with everyone on exploring new path for environmental protection and promoting the green transformation of economic development mode.

The Chinese government has always paid high attention on environmental protection. In the past five years, Chinese government has put environmental protection to a more important strategic position, including putting forward the important strategic idea of building up ecological civilization, rivers and lakes rehabilitation, promoting historic transformation of environmental protection and exploring new path for environmental protection, taking the emission reduction of main pollutants as the restrictive mandatory for economic and social development. Environmental protection has great changes from understanding to practice. The environmental protection has made significant achievements, which are mainly shown in the following five aspects:

First, the tasks of emission reduction of main pollutants have been over fulfilled. In 2010, the total emission amount of SO2 and COD has decreased to 14.29% and 12.45% comparing with the emission level of 2005. Both exceeded 10% of emission reduction target. During "11th five year plan" period, all over China, the desulfurization units for coal -fired power plants with capacity of 578 million KW have been built up and operated. The proportion of desulfurization units of coal fired power plants has been increased from 14% of 2005 to 82.6% in 2010. New increased capacity for sewage treatment has exceeded to 60 million tons per day, the rate of municipal sewage treatment has increased from 52% of 2005 to 77%.

Secondly, the effect of environmental protection for optimizing economic development and guaranteeing the improvement of livelihood has been appearing gradually.  During the "11th five year plan" period, the Ministry of Environmental Protection had made decisions of rejection, disapproval or temporary postponed on the EIA documents of 822 projects which disaccord with environmental requirements. These projects involved investments of RMB 3.2 trillion. These actions has built up an impassive "fire wall" for Heavy pollution, High energy intensive and Resource intensive projects, low development level and duplicative construction projects, and the projects resulting in over supply. Drinking water safe guaranteeing has been effectively enhanced in which unsafe drinking water problem for 215 million rural population has been solved. Pollution prevention and control of heavy metal, chemicals and soil pollution have been fully promoted.

Thirdly, enhancement of pollution prevention and control in focal river basins and regions has been strengthening. To carry out and fulfill the important instruction by the Party General Secretary Hu Jintao that the rivers and lakes need to be rehabilitated and metabolic, many policy measures have been innovated. The assessment system for trans-provincial boundary section water quality monitoring has been fully set up for key water basins. During the "11th five years plan" period, the implementation rate of the special planning projects for water pollution prevention and control in key water basins is 87.1%, which is 22.8 percent higher than that in the "10th five year plan" period. 80.9% checked across section water quality reached the standard. Experimented mechanism of jointly prevention and co-control for regional air pollution had effectively ensured the environmental quality for Beijing Olympic Games, Shanghai World Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games.

Fourthly, the rural and ecological environmental protection has been firmly enhanced. The Central Government arranged budget of 4 billion RMB to protect rural environment by applying performance-based bonus to promote pollution treatment and performance-based bonus to take over "general subsidies" program, to support 6,600 towns and villages to carry out integrated rural environmental management and ecological demonstration construction. These have attracted 8 billion local finance resources and benefited 24 million people. The State Council approved "China's Biodiversity Protection Strategy and Action Plan". 192 new different kinds of natural reserves have been built up. The area of earth land natural protection reserves takes 14.9% of total land territory.
 
Fifthly, the environmental quality has been improved continuously. In 2010,the average concentration of permanganate value of national monitoring section for overall surface water has deteriorated for 31.9% comparing with that of 2005. And the proportion of Grade III  and above of national monitoring cross sections of seven major rivers raised from 41% of that in 2005 to 59.9%. The average annual concentration of SO2 in atmosphere of cities across country decreased 19% comparing with that of 2005. The average annual concentration of SO2 in air in national environmental protection key cities dropped 26.3% comparing with that of 2005. And the proportion of cities at and above county level which reached or exceeded air quality standard of II obviously raised to 81.7%.
 
Dear council member and experts,

China is in a period of fast industrialization and fast development of urbanization. This period is also a key phase of transformation of economic development mode. The problems of unbalance, incorporative, and unsustainable problems are still very striking. The restrictions from resources and environment have been serious day by day. There are many good conditions to do better environmental protection. At the meanwhile, severe challenges are up there. Chinese government highly recognized the environmental protection in new situation. Not long ago, the State Council distributed "Opinion on enhancing key tasks of environmental protection", which defined the key tasks and guaranteeing methods for environmental protection during the "12th five year plan" period. The State Council will issue the 12th five year plan for national environmental protection. The 7th national environmental protection conference will be held soon. During the conference, the future five year environmental protection task will be arranged in a whole. This will point out the direction and path to promote the great development for China's environmental protection.

The significant achievement of the "Opinion on enhancing key tasks of environmental protection" by the State Council is that it clearly puts forward actively exploring new path for environmental protection. The "Opinion" indicated to protect environmental along with the development and to develop under environmental protection, by constantly enhancing and using legal, economic, technical and necessary administrative measurements, taking reformation and innovation as motivation, actively explore new path of low cost, high effective, low emission and sustainable for environmental protection. This symbolizes that the idea of actively exploring new path for environmental protection has been raised to a level of national strategy. It is a flagship and important drive force for the whole society to promote environmental protection jointly. 

The meanings of new environmental protection path are: low cost, high efficiency, low emission and sustainability. The new path for environmental protection we are exploring does not simply mean environmental protection, but to establish and amplify the national economy system and social structure system which is in favor of environmental protection and to carry out the requirements for environmental protection in all aspects of economic, politic, social and cultural construction. "Low cost" means to insist coherent development of environmental protection and economic development, to use possible less cost of resources and environment to support economic activities in greater scale. "High efficiency" means to insist overall planning for environmental protection and economic and social construction, find best environmental, economic and social benefits. "Low emission" is to insist combination of pollution prevention and environmental administration, to control the pollutant emission at the lowest level, to decrease the environmental damage caused by the economic and social activities at the lowest degree.  "Sustainability is to keep the coherence of environmental protection and long term development, to promote the sustainable economic and social development by the construction of energy saving and environmental friendly society.

The fundamental requirement for exploring new path for environmental protection is to promote the coordinative integration of environmental protection and economic development at a large scale. To correctly deal with the relationship between environmental protection and economic development is always a hard nut to crack in the construction process of socialistic modernization in China. These two factors are mutually restrictive and supportive. To protect environment without economic development looks like to fish in the air, to develop economy without environmental protection looks like to drain the pond to catch all fish. We need to focus on the theme of scientific development, to speed up the transformation of economic development mode and to meet the new requirement for ecological civilization. We must prioritize environmental protection at the same level of economic and social development. We must let environmental protection fully play the leading role and use backwards pressure mechanism of environmental protection in participating macro economic adjust and control, in order to promote green development through optimizing regional patterns by environmental capacity, optimizing industrial structure by environmental management, and optimizing developing mode by environmental cost.

The core for exploring new path for environmental protection is to guarantee and improve livelihood. Environmental protection is an important issue of livelihood and concerns of people. After the food issues have been solved, to create a better ecological environment has become a new task for social construction, a new expectation by people, a new symbol for the development of social civilization. So it is important to emphasize the idea that environmental protection must be favor and beneficial for people. Efforts will be focused on solving the problems caused by heavy metals, chemicals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which are closely related to human life. The environmental law violations must be severely punished. The environmental rights of public must be rationally defended so that people could have clean water to drink, fresh air to breathe, safe food to eat, and could live in beautiful and livable environment.

The target to explore new path for environmental protection is to build six big systems with full efforts. Firstly, the macro strategic environmental protection system should be adaptive to China's situation, which overall plans environmental protection, economic and social development as a whole. The second one is to establish a full scale and high efficient pollution prevention and control system, which covers every linkage, every field and every aspect of the economic and social development, and  to reduce environmental pollution from production and the whole process as well as to improve the capacity for pollution treatment. The third one is to improve and perfect environmental quality assessment system, which establishes scientific and rational assessment indexes so as to solve the disaccord between people's actual feeling and the assessment result of environmental quality. The forth one is to complete and perfect law, policy and scientific technological standards system for environmental protection. It means to enhance the legal and systematic construction for environmental protection, to issue economic policies which are favorable to environmental protection, to carry out important environmental scientific engineering projects and special projects in some focal area, and to complete the base line and basic environmental standards for the purpose of human health. The fifth is to complete environmental management, law enforcement and monitoring system, which is to realize law enforcement responsibility, perfect law enforcement procedure so as to establish the law enforcement and monitoring system with clear authority and responsibility, clear rules for conducting, powerful monitoring and high efficient operation.  The sixth is to have social action system for public participation, which is to make green and moderate consumption as self-conscious activities of the civil society through effective dissemination, education and public opinion indication so as to form a better atmosphere for environmental protection awareness and environmental protection participation and practice for everybody.

There are four major things and three tasks to be done during the 12th five year plan period along with the exploring new path for environmental protection. To explore the new path for environmental protection needs to do overall planning and top level design and to have focal areas by considering all aspects, as well as to get constant progress in key areas and key phases.

The four things are: the first is to take active exploring of the new path of environmental protection as the main practical subject, enrich and complete the theoretic system for environmental protection. Only theoretical sublimation will lead to the reform of practice. The theoretical system of environmental protection is the key content and basic support in the macro strategic system for environmental protection. It is necessary to deeply promote  the recognition of the historic transformation of environmental protection, to realize that the important ecological system like rivers and lakes need rehabilitation and recovery, to recognize the importance of eco-civilization construction, to get better understanding of the relationship between environmental protection and economic and social development, and more, to deepen the recognition of succession of natural eco-system, comprehensive and integrated pollution prevention and control, and the rules of eco-environmental management, consolidate the theoretic basis for environmental protection. The second is to take the revision of the "Law of environmental protection" as the bibcock, to fully form the framework of environmental protection law, regulations and policies. Revise the "Law of environmental protection" with the cooperation of the National People's Congress,enhance the fundamental position and role of the Law of Environmental Protection and fully promote the construction for environmental protection law, regulation, policies systems and environmental standards. The third is to take the issuing of organization byelaw of the Ministry of Environmental Protection as a turning point, to straighten out the function, responsibilities and organization relationships of environmental protection, to explore the possibility of mega-ministerial system with rational unification of functions and responsibilities, and for further step, complete the mechanism of environmental monitoring and supervision system. The fourth is to take energy saving as a main task to promote with full effort the evident improvement of environmental quality. This is the fundamental starting point and function of environmental protection as well as the forever theme for environmental protection. We will continuously promote the obvious improvement of environmental protection, to ask space from structural emission reduction, potentials from engineering emission reduction, effectiveness from management emission reduction, and completely achieve the total emission reduction target of CO2, NOx, COD and NH3.

The three tasks are: 1). to improve overall monitoring and management capacity for environmental protection.  To improve overall monitoring and management capacity is not only a basic guaranteeing for better environmental protection, but also a necessary requirement for public service level and effective management of the government. We will strictly carry out EIA system, constantly enhance the total emission reduction for main pollutants. Strengthen environmental law enforcement and monitoring, effectively prevent environmental risk and appropriately treat emergent environmental events. 2). We will try our best to solve the extreme environmental problems which affect scientific development and human health. Environmental protection is a basic aspect for protecting and improving livelihood. So it is important to insist that environmental protection must consider people first, solve the problem caused by heavy metal, persistent organic pollutants and soil pollution. And fulfill the new requirement and expectation of the messes.  3). We will reform and innovate the systematic mechanism for environmental protection, continuously promote the historic transformation of environmental protection, apply the economic policy that is favorable to environmental protection, improve environmental protection capacity, strengthen the environmental management system and operation mechanism and intensify the leadership and assessment for environmental protection.

Dear Council members and experts:
To fully play the promotive role of environmental protection in the transformation of economic development mode is the internal requirement for exploring the new path for environmental protection. At present, there are more and more unstable and uncertain factor in the international society, the deep influence by the international economic crisis has appeared. The recovery speed of world economy is slowing down. The problems in development have been more critical. The transformation of economic development mode presents the general trend and necessity. Whether the speed up of transformation of economic development mode will get positive result, a basic judging standard is if the resources and environmental cost is dropped in the development. An important determining factor is that how big is the strength for ecologic environmental protection. To speed up the promotion to the green transformation of economic development mode, we will insert our efforts in the following five aspects.

First, to greatly develop green economy, drive economic transformation by green development. Green development has become a trend of times. A new round industrial and scientific and technological innovation is under sprout and multiplying. We will push forward the multi energy clean development, improve the utilizing efficiency of energy resources and reduce resources consumption at the most extension. We will plan, build and reconstruct different industrial parks according to the requirement of circular economy, and establish the industrial system by recycling chain. We will also complete resources recycling system, and promote utilization of renewable resources in large scale. We encourage the use of green products, carryout green shopping, live in green style and to do green consumption.

Second, to continuously enhance pollution emission reduction, promote economic structural adjustment by the backward force mechanism. The backward pressure mechanism is the consolidated driving force and promoter to speed up the transformation of economic development mode. We will further more perfect the reduction statistic, monitoring and assessing system, put the structural reduction at a more striking position, strengthen engineering project reduction and management reduction, further promote the reduction of SO2 and COD, speed up the reduction of NOx and NH3, step forward the phase out of backward production capacity by the backward force mechanism of pollution reduction, promote technologic innovation of industries and further more promote the transformation and  upgrade of industrial structure. 

Third, to deepen EIA system, promote the upgrade of industry by the headstream control of pollution origins. EIA is the systematic safeguard for environmental protection to participate in the integrative decision making for economic and social development, a "control brake" to reduce environmental pollution and ecological damage from the headstream, a "regulator" of promoting the transformation of economic development mode and industrial structure adjustment. We will actively seek for strategic EIA, promote planning EIA, establish and strengthen the joint mechanism of planning EIA and project EIA, optimize industrial distribution so as to restrict and deny heavy pollution, high energy intensive and resource intensive projects, low development level and duplicative construction, and projects resulting in over production.

Forth, to improve and perfect environmental protection law, regulation, policy and standards, optimize resource allocation by environmental cost. Environmental protection law, regulation, policy and standards are usually the activator for green economic development and technologic improvement. We will make efforts to constitute and revise related laws and regulations, actively promote the reform of environmental tax and charge system, research and formulate fiscal, tax, financial and price policies favorable to environmental protection. We will speed up the build up of environmental standard system, consummate environmental quality standards, pollution monitoring standards and clean production standards.

Fifth, to strengthen scientific innovation and supporting capacity for environmental protection, greatly develop environmental protection industries by market leading. The important innovation in science and technology, overcoming of key technology and the expanding use of common technology will certainly bring new breaking through in environmental pollution prevention and accelerative transformation of economic development mode in China. We will give greatly support in policy for technical problem tackling in promoting pollution reduction in the fields of heavy metal, chemical and soil pollution area. We will apply demonstration projects of environmental protection industries, greatly develop environmental services and try to make environmental protection industries as a new economic increasing point and supporting industry.

Dear council member and experts,
For many years, the CCICED has put forward many valuable policy recommendations and suggestions on the important issues of China's environment and development to Chinese government. We highly appreciate the efforts and wisdom that every council member and expert have contributed for the increasing development of China's environment protection and development. The green transformation of economic development mode is a great challenge for contemporary China. The realization of China's green transformation will be China's active contribution to the world development. I hope, focusing on this theme, everyone here could say one's say, fully discuss and put forward your valuable suggestions and play more important roles in promoting China's environmental protection and economic development!

At the end, I wish the 2011 annual general meeting of CCICED a great success! Wish everyone have a pleasant stay in Beijing! Wish all good health!

Thank you!

 

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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