Firmer execution urged in China's green efforts
Updated: 2014-09-12 10:23
TIANJIN - Facing an urgent need to stabilize growth while containing environmental drain, China needs to step up environmental protection and invite the entire public to take a green initiative, a group of panelists at the Summer Davos concluded.
Aiming at greener growth, China ramped up efforts to curb overcapacity and reorganize polluting industries. In the first half of 2014, per unit GDP energy consumption dropped by 4.2 percent year on year and carbon intensity was cut by about 5 percent, both representing the largest drops in years, Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday at the Summer Davos forum.
"China is fulfilling its promises and taking action," Xie Zhenhua, deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission and the country's top official on climate change, commented during a panel session on Thursday.
He said the carbon market, a market-based approach to pollution reduction still absent in China, needs long-term, powerful and stable targets to cut emissions, in addition to policy support, to assure entrepreneurs and encourage them to innovate and invest.
"Executive force is not enough and the market is not stable now." Xie said.
Gong Ke, president of Tianjin-based Nankai University, said legislation of environmental-protection-related issues in China is making headway but the law enforcement has been weak.
Legislation has to be more transparent, data-based and address the concerns of multiple parties, said Gong at a separate panel on Thursday.
Other analysts at the Summer Davos agreed on a multi-dimensional mechanism that invites the government, enterprises and individuals to collaborate.
Zhang Xinsheng, president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, said current efforts to address green issues are still too fragmented, sector-related, and near-sighted.
Zhang added the government has a key role to play in designing and building policy infrastructure, but the operation of the mechanism should rely on market forces and the will of the public.
On Tuesday ahead of the forum, Premier Li expressed resolute in high-quality, sustainable growth, sticking to his rhetoric at March's annual legislative sessions that China will "declare a war" on pollution.
He said China will improve environment-related law and regulations, step up enforcement, let law-breakers pay a high price and encourage enterprises to save energy via innovation.
To address climate change and fulfilling its due international responsibilities, the Chinese government is now contemplating emission targets for 2030, according to the premier.
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