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Speech at the Opening Ceremony(Zeng Peiyan)


  Dear Members and guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends,


  Good afternoon.


  First, I’d like to share a piece of good news with you. While China maintaining high economic growth rate, the energy consumption per unit GDP further dropped during the first three quarters of this year, down by 3% compared to the same period last year. The total discharge of SO2 and COD has changed from upward to downward, down by 1.81% and 0.28% respectively than the same period of last year. This major change signifies that the environmental protection undertaking of China has entered into a new stage.


  Today marks the official establishment of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development Phase IV. We have both familiar old friends and a lot of new friends in the Members of this new phase of the Council. I am very glad that we can get together to discuss practical problems emerged in the environmental and development cause of China. It is of great significance that this 2007 AGM has chosen “Innovation and Environment-Friendly Society” as its theme and discuss about it. Here, on behalf of the Chinese government, I’d like to express my warmest welcome to all Members, experts and representatives presenting at today’s meeting and heartfelt thanks to your long-standing care and support to the environment and development cause of china.


  The world today is featured by the deepening of economic globalization, rapid scientific and technological development and faster flow of various production elements like capital, technology and talents. Against such a backdrop, the overall economic development trend across the globe is very promising, and all countries are encountering very precious development opportunity. Meanwhile, the factors that threatening world economic sustainable growth cannot be ignored with ever-mounting pressure on energy, resources and the environment. The international price of major mineral products such as oil, iron ore and copper ore are rocketing. At the 2006 AGM, the price of crude oil was around 60 US$ per barrel, attracting widespread attention of the international community. Now, the price hike of oil to around 100 US$ has drawn deeper concern of the world. Global warming, loss of biodiversity, the depletion of the ozone layer and regional eco-environmental degradation has all brought about major impacts on human life and production activities. It has already been highly valued by various national governments, enterprises and people of insights to join hands in cooperation and create a new future under this circumstance.


  Since the start of the new millennium, China is experiencing accelerated industrialization and urbanization with a new round of economic growth. During the past five years, the average annual GDP growth was over 10%. The first three quarters of this year witnessed 11.5% GDP growth, and the economy maintained good momentum of relatively rapid growth, structural improvement with more profit. However, we should be sober-minded at the same time that a number of problems are still hampering the stable and sustainable development of China’s economy. Currently, we are facing the problem of excessive liquidity, great foreign trade surplus, high-investment ratio and relatively big fluctuations in commodity price. The per capita GDP of China is rather low, there is a long way to realize modernization, and the conflict between development and resource and environment in the coming years will remain outstanding. The Chinese government attaches great importance to these issues and is taking measures to address them.


  The development of China not only brings welfare to the Chinese people, but also promotes global economic prosperity and eases the pressure on resources and environment of other countries. There has been a massive transfer of traditional manufacturing industry, especially heavy and chemical industries into China over the past two decades. The ever-increasing export volume of China has provided other countries with cheap and good commodities on the one hand, but increased the resource consumption and pollution emission of China on the other. It is estimated that one fifth of the energy consumption in China each year is for the manufacturing of energy-intensive products that no longer in production in developed countries. Economic globalization brings benefit to China, but at the same time increases the difficulty of China in addressing resource and environmental problems.


  Ladies and gentlemen,


  China has always attached great importance to addressing environmental problems. During the last five years, The Chinese government has made a series of arrangements on strengthening environmental protection and adopted a range of well-targeted policy measures from the strategic standpoint of building a well-off society in an all-round way and accelerating socialist modernization. As a result, environmental protection work has made the following positive achievements.


  We have accelerated industrial restructuring. We have improved industrial policies, raised market access in terms of environmental protection, strengthened EIA of construction projects and curbed many new projects with high energy consumption and heavy pollution. We have made more efforts in the phase-out of outmoded productivity of 13 industries such as iron and steel, cement, power generation and paper-making. The target of phasing out all the small thermal power units with the capacity less than 10 million KW has been achieved ahead of schedule. The industrial restructuring has drastically reduced pollution emission from the source.


  We have stepped up efforts in the development of eco-environment. We have developed and revised a great number of wastewater treatment plants and landfill facilities in urban areas and parts of rural areas, expedited the construction of desulphurization facilities of coal-fired thermal power units with the addition of total capacity of 200 million KW of power units equipped with desulphurization facilities across China this year and last year. A total of 140 million mu farmland have turned into forest land and 440 million mu of pastureland to grassland over the past five years. Large-scale environmental projects have improved the environmental quality of some regions in China.


  We have enhanced environmental law enforcement and legal work. We have formulated and amended a range of environmental laws and regulations, enhanced the supervision of environmental law enforcement, investigated and eliminated hidden environmental risks across China. During the past five years, we have addressed over 1.6 million pollution cases with public concern. This move has not only effectively solved outstanding environmental problems, but also promoted the practice of “rule by the law” in environmental protection.


  We have improved environmental economic policy. The Chinese government has taken such measures as increasing the investment in energy saving and environmental protection, adjusting resource taxes on mineral products, raising the price of finished oil and carried out power price policies that limit the development of energy intensive enterprises and encouraging power plant desulphurization and the development of renewable energy, improving the charging system for sewage treatment and domestic refuse disposal and establishing a market-oriented system for the operation of pollution control facilities. All these have provided a good leverage for the prevention and control of environmental pollution.


  Through hard work China has scored new progress in environmental protection. With fast economic growth and some increase of pollution emission, the overall environmental quality of China basically remained stable with some improvement in the environmental quality of some river basins, cities and regions.


  Ladies and gentlemen,


  The last-month 17th Congress of the CPC is an important meeting held at a key stage of China’s reform and development. At the meeting, the Party made thorough arrangements for further advancing reform and opening up, socialist modernization as well as for achieving the goal of building a moderately prosperous society. It was made clear that economic development should be achieved on the basis of optimized industrial structure, high efficiency, low energy consumption and good environmental protection. This fully demonstrates the development mode that takes environment as top priority. The meeting has identified conservation culture as one of our objectives for building a moderately prosperous society Xiaokang societyin an all round way. This reflects our new requirements for conservation development, clean development and culturally advanced development. In the future, we will promote innovation and further strengthen environmental protection.


  Firstly, make innovations on our development ideas. We will firmly follow the path of people first, balanced and sustainable development, adhere to the basic national policy of saving energy and protecting the environment, further implement the strategy of sustainable development and accelerate our efforts to build a resource efficient and environment-friendly society. We will take energy saving and consumption reduction as well as emission reduction as a major objective for development, which serves as an important means to economic restructuring and economic growth mode transformation as well as an essential component for our endeavor to improve macro economic regulation and industrial development policies. We are committed to work hard on it.


  Secondly, make innovations on our development mode. We will accelerate the transformation of economic growth mode, facilitating the change from investment and export driven economy to a balanced driving forces of consumption, investment and export; from mainly relying on secondary industry to the synergy of primary, secondary and tertiary industries; and from relying on increasing resource consumption for economic growth to relying on technology advancement, improvement of workers’ personal quality and innovation in management. We will continue our strict control on excessive growth of high energy consumption and heavy pollution industries and speed up the development of modern service sector, advanced manufacturing and green agriculture in order to establish a modern industrial system featuring clean energy and high efficiency. At the same time, we will make more efforts in phasing out backward productivity with high energy consumption and heavy pollution. During the 11th Five-Year Period, we are going to phase out the outdated capacity in the following sectors: 55 million tons in steel, 50 million KW in thermal power, 250 million tons in cement production and 6.5 million tons in paper-making.


  Thirdly, make institutional and systematic innovations. We will improve environmental laws and regulations as well as environmental standards and strengthen punishment on environmental infringements. We will deepen our reform in pricing, public finance, taxation and banking, establish the system for compensated use of resources and eco-compensation system and improve economic policy system conducive to resource saving and emission reduction. We will improve environmental management system, perfect emission reduction target system, monitoring system and evaluation system and carry out local government responsibility system for environmental protection. We will promote emission permit system, strengthen on-line monitoring of key enterprises and establish corporate creditability system for environmental protection. We will safeguard public’s right on the access to environmental information, play the role of media and social organizations for supervision, mobilize the initiatives of all social forces in taking part in environmental protection and advocate environmental and conservation culture in the society.


  Fourthly, make innovations on pollution prevention and control mode. We will make more efforts in such aspects as facilitating conservation of energy and resources, fully implementation of key energy saving projects such as reform of industrial boilers, use of residual heat and pressure, and promotion of energy saving buildings; focusing on reform of key energy intensive industries and promoting conservation of water, land and other resources. We will work hard to facilitate clean production, circular economy and accelerate the transformation from end-of-pipe control to whole-process control with a view to reducing resource consumption and pollution at source. We will speed up our efforts in key environmental protection programs such as the construction of sewage treatment plants, desulphurization devices of coal-fired power plants; disposal of hazardous waste, prevention and control of water pollution in key river basins and development of eco-function zones so as to raise pollution control efficiency and improve environmental quality as soon as possible.


  Ladies and gentlemen,


  Under the circumstance of increasing economic globalization, the solutions to environment and development issues are more and more dependent on international cooperation in the environment field. We suggest that every country in the world help and cooperate with each other on environment issues, cherish our common home - the earth on which the mankind is relied for survival, and make more efforts in protecting biodiversity and ozone layer, especially take active responses to global climate change.


  China has always paid great attention to the issue of climate change. The energy consumption per unit GDP dropped constantly during the last two decades of the 20th century, but went up at the start of the new century due to a large proportion of heavy industry in the industrial mix. However, it began to decline again in last two years because of the measures adopted. Over the past 26 years, the energy consumption per unit GDP has decreased by 64.5%. Meanwhile, an ever wider area has been reforested and more and more forests are protected, which has played an important role in controlling the emissions of greenhouse gases. Not long ago, China developed the National Climate Change Programme and set up a leading group in response to the climate change, which is headed by Premier Wen Jiabao. We shall do our utmost to implement the Programme, shoulder due international duties and obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol and in the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, and try to meet the goals and fulfill the tasks of reducing energy consumption, increasing the percentage of renewable energy, improving the forest coverage, and developing low-carbon economy. The international community should intensify communications, do more to address climate change, develop appropriate means of production and modes of consumption that are in compliance with sustainable development, and promote the cooperation on technological R&D in the fields of energy saving, environmental protection, and low-carbon energy. Developed countries should face squarely their historical responsibilities and the reality of high levels of per capita GHG emissions, seriously fulfill the emissions reduction goals set out in the Protocol, take the lead in continuing reduction efforts after 2012, and provide more assistance to developing countries in terms of capital input, technology transfer, training and institutional improvement.


  China’s environment and development efforts have been deeply influenced by the economic globalization. Protecting the country’s environment contributes not only to China’s sustainable development, but also to the world environment and development cause. The Chinese government is duty-bound of this but also needs enhanced international cooperation. We want less sensational reactions and reproach but more understanding of and supports to the environmental problems in the development cause. We hope that the international organizations, foreign governments, business, and scientific research institutes can intensify their communications and cooperation with us, join us in environmental projects, head for making breakthroughs in environmental science and technology, deepen the cooperation on training of environmental professionals, and introduce advanced environmental equipment, technology, talents, managerial expertise and funds for environmental treatment, so as to enhance the capacity of environmental protection collectively.


  Since its establishment in 1992, the Council has become one important platform that intensifies environmental cooperation between China and the international community. Over the past 16 years, the Council has conducted policy studies on important and practical problems related to environment and development, and put forward many valuable policy recommendations to the Chinese Government. The 3rd Phase of the Council has made many effective achievements. The Chinese Government highly values the Council’s findings and has transformed many good recommendations into specific policy measures. The Council has been well recognized by the Government for putting forward recommendations from unique perspectives and contributing to the country’s environment and development cause in its own way.


  Today, the 4th Phase of the Council will start its journey. I hope whole-heartedly that all Council Members and experts will pay more attention and supports to the country’s sustainable development cause, so that the Council can further play its role as bridging for international environmental cooperation. Let’s explore more study areas and put forward more policy recommendations, extend the spheres of communications and practice down-to-earth cooperation in a wider scope, seek for innovative work style and strengthen environmental protection, so as to make more contributions to the development of conservation culture in China and the world.


  Finally, I hope that with your in-depth discussions about the meeting’s theme and in-sights as well as valuable recommendations, all Council Members and experts presented here can create a good beginning for the activities of Phase IV.


  I wish a complete success of the 2007 Annual General Meeting of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. I hope all of you enjoy a pleasant stay in Beijing and good heath.


  Thank you!


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