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Special Speech(Zhou Shengxian)

2008-11-12author:Zhou Shengxiansource:

  Respected Chairman, dear Council Members, experts, ladies and gentlemen,


  First, I’d like to inform all of you of a piece of good news. According to preliminary statistics, the discharge volume of COD and SO2 of China during the first three quarters of this year witnessed 2.7% and 4.2% decline respectively compared with that of the same period of last year, further maintaining the sound development trend of “double fall”. These achievements are obtained against the background of the first ever “turning point” for pollution reduction in last year, the efforts made in coping with the continual disasters of low temperature, sleet and snowstorm in the south and devastating earthquake in Wenchuan County this year as well as the current complex and volatile global financial and economic situation. All these have fully demonstrated that the environmental protection efforts in China are under steady enhancement, and the coordination between the environment and economy is improving.


  As you all know, coordination in development is one of the basic requirements for the scientific outlook on development, which encompasses the coordination of development quality (growth rate, structure and profit), the coordination of development elements (population, resources and the environment), the coordination of the development momentum (investment, consumption and export) as well as the coordination of development mode (urban area, rural area and different regions). In specific, the coordination of development elements aims to realize the coordination between the people, resources and the environment. The human society has undergone historical process of expanding and deepening practice and improving understanding from recognizing environmental problems to resolving them. We gradually realize that the ultimate root cause of environmental pollution rests with the imbalance among the three major development elements: population, resources and the environment, and the history of environmental protection exactly represents the history of proper handling of the relationship between the environment and economic development.


  Air constitutes a major environmental element. Human beings can not live without air and can not have good health without clean air. The threat of air pollution to human society has long become the nightmare during the process of social modernization and civilization. In 1948, the small town of Donora in Pennsylvanian of the US had been enveloped in smog for several days, leading to the affliction of diseases of over 5,000 local residents. In the midwinter of 1952, London city of the GB was deeply enshrouded by heavy frog, and over 4,000 people died due to the dirty air. Among the global top 8 public environmental incidents shocking the whole world, 5 are caused by air pollution. Both retrospection of the past and serious utilization of the present are for the building of a better future. Environment is the fundamental condition for the survival and development of human kind, and improving the environment is a key issue concerning people’s livelihood. While meeting with the International Members of the CCICED in last November, Premier Wen Jiabao noted that he would serve as an “environment-oriented” Premier, and the State Council should become an “environment-oriented” State Council. He will not only strive to maintain sound economic development of China, but also build a sound environment.


  Dear Members,

  The work for guaranteeing the environmental quality for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games has provided developing countries with a case worthy study and learning in the field of air pollution prevention and control. The holding of the Olympic Games is the dream of the Chinese nation for a whole century, while the convocation of a first-class Olympic Games with Chinese feature is the solemn commitment made by the Chinese people to the international community. Viewed from natural conditions, Beijing is surrounded by stretching mountains. With the Taihang Mountains lying to its west and Yanshan Mountains to the north, the atmospheric circulation of the city is blocked, amazingly resembling that of the cities experiencing public pollution incidents. Therefore, Beijing faces unprecedented and tremendous challenges in fully fulfilling its environmental commitment during the Olympic Games. Under this background, there were some unharmonious voices from the international community. Some people employed the environmental issue to make false accusation, and even slander, over the Beijing Olympic Games. In fact, we are fully aware that the work for guaranteeing environmental quality for the Olympic Games is a systematic project with many and jumble tasks, and the prominent conflict between environment and development of China made a concentrate reflection in this unprecedented project.


  In an effort to tackle air pollution problem in Beijing, starting from 1998, the Beijing Municipal Government has ushered in over 200 measures for the control of air pollution in 14 consecutive phases under the leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council with total investment of over 100 billion Yuan for the purpose of creating a “Green Olympic Games”. The energy mix of Beijing has shifted from heavily relying on coal to a cleaner one, and the consumed volume of natural gas has grown by 3.5 times in the last 7 years; the pillar enterprises like Shougang Steel Corp. were moved out of Beijing. Many heavy-polluting enterprises were closed or transformed to other business. The Phase IV Standard for the Emission of Vehicle Exhaust has put into effect, and over 60,000 old or used taxies and buses were eliminated. More than 400 pieces of bare land have undergone the treatment of dust removal with grass cover. All waterways within the 6th Ring Road of the city have been treated, and the crystal clear water zigzags through urban areas like jade belts. At the same time, the concept of “Green Olympics” has gradually entered into tens of thousand of household: more and more residents are self-consciously put their garbage into classified garbage bins; energy-saving light bulbs and water tags are used in ordinary families. The initiatives of building green community, green school and green enterprises are warmly echoed by all social sectors.


  In a bid to honor the solemn commitment of holding a “Green Olympics”, the State Council approved the establishment of the Coordination Group for Guaranteeing the Air Quality for the 2008 Olympic Games led by the Beijing Municipal Government and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and participated by five provinces (autonomous region and municipalities) of Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Shandong. The Coordination Group conducted special study over the situation and tasks for guaranteeing the air quality of the Olympic Games, gathered the measures proposed by six provinces (autonomous region and municipalities), organized experts and academicians to make relevant studies and held many meetings for analysis and documentation. Based on all those, the Group compiled the Measures for Guaranteeing the Air Quality of Beijing for the IXXX Olympic Games. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and other six provinces (autonomous region and municipalities) earnestly implemented the Measures, launched joint prevention and control work and seriously promoted the work for guaranteeing the environmental quality for the Olympic Games. The installed capacity of all the thermal power generation units in operation equipped with desulphurization facilities in the six provinces (autonomous region and municipalities) before the Olympic Games reached over 26 GW. A number of major industrial pollution treatment projects have been completed, and a batch of outdated production and techniques have been eliminated or moved.


  Following unremitting efforts, the air quality of Beijing has been improved during the past several years. In 2007, Beijing experienced 246 days of clean blue skies, 146 more than that of 1998. During the Olympic and Paralympics, the up-to-the-standard rate for air quality of Beijing hit 100%, among which 10 days and 2 days were up to Standard I respectively, and the daily average concentration of various pollutants including SO2, CO, NO2 and inhalable particulates dropped by about 50% than the same period of last year, reaching the level of advanced cities across the world and the best in history for the last 10 years. Beijing residents say that the sky is becoming higher in sunny days while rain drops are cleaner in rainy days. Meanwhile, the air quality of all the co-host cities has basically hit the required standards, fully fulfilling the commitments to environmental protection of green Olympics.


  Dear Council Members,

  Environmental quality guarantee during the Olympics not only provided strong support for a successful Olympic Games but also presented a brand new case that a big developing country is managing to improve regional environmental quality and promote coordinated development between environmental protection and economic development. In the seven years to prepare for the Olympic Games, Beijing has witnessed an annual average economic growth rate of 12.4% and over 70% of output value and employment in service sector, achieving notable improvement of people’s living standard and better environmental quality year on year. This is a win-win deal for both the environment and the economy. The practice of Green Olympics has led to economic restructuring, shift of the development pattern and balanced development in Beijing. The success of Beijing’s Green Olympics fully demonstrates the significance of balanced growth for seeking a fundamental solution to environmental problems and improvement of environmental quality. An important experience for reviewing and promoting the achievement of Green Olympics is to strengthen environmental protection in an all-round way, accelerate the nurture of ecological civilization, promote harmony between man and nature and man and the society and further reinforce the coordination of the quality, driving forces, pattern and factors of development so as to create a virtuous circle for improved environmental quality and quality of economic growth and build a resource-saving and environment-friendly society.


  Enhance the balance of quality development entails strengthened environmental protection in the whole process of reproduction. Production, circulation, distribution and consumption are the four links of economic operation. We must build a comprehensive pollution control system in each of the four links to balance the need for rapid development with rational industrial structure and good economic benefit and achieve coordinated and sound development. We will actively promote clean production by developing a sound mechanism combined with mandatory requirement and incentives under which enterprises obtain more competitive force in the market due to their overall good performance in energy conservation, consumption reduction, pollution reduction and benefit increment in the whole production process. To facilitate the development of circular economy, we will develop and promote best available technologies conducive to conservation, alternative technology, reuse and pollution reduction, advance the building of eco-friendly industrial parks and industrial clusters and raise the efficiency of energy and resources. We must strengthen law enforcement, curb polluting enterprises, phase out backward productivity with a firm hand and optimize industrial structure, hence leading the traditional industries to the new industrialization path featuring high-tech, good economic benefit, low consumption of resources and minimum environmental pollution.


  Strengthening the coordination of the driving forces of development calls for active support to environmental industry. Investment, export and consumption are three engines driving economic development. As the world economy is under marked slowdown with dramatic reduction of the demand from foreign countries, only by expanding domestic demand, particularly consumption can we sustain a fast and steady development. We should make environmental industry an essential part for expanding domestic demand, turn emerging industries that use new energy sources and develop renewable energy, conserve energy, water and timber and control pollution into new engines of economic growth. Focus will be on the improvement of people’s environmental well-being. We will develop and perfect strategies, policies and standards promoting the development of environmental industry, establish technology innovation system and upgrade the technologies of environmental industry. More investment will be channeled to the creation of diversified conditions for industrial investment. Efforts will be made to develop environmental service industry and accelerate its commercialization and industrialization. We need to foster key enterprises and guide small-and-medium enterprises to work on specialized and sophisticated areas that are new and special. Regulation will be strengthened to set up a unified, open, fair and orderly market for the industry. Meanwhile, grasping the opportunity that the concept of Green Olympics has been rooted deep in people’s mind, we will continue environmental publicity and raise public awareness, which will help continued growth of demand for environment-friendly products and drive rapid development of environmental industry.


  To further balance the development pattern, we must promote environmental protection in both rural and urban areas and at regional scale. Unbalanced economic development and environmental protection in urban and rural areas and at regional scale is a long-standing issue in China, which has to be incorporated into the overall picture. As for some notable regional environmental problems like haze in the Pearl River and the Yangtze River deltas, we need to extend our regional cooperation activities in pollution control during the Olympics and speed up the improvement of regional environmental quality. We should observe the law of nature and implement the supporting policies for national zoning of eco function areas. In line with the requirement of regional development that classify all regions into different functions suited for optimized development, principal development, restricted development and prohibition from development, regions should develop in a rational way to form a pattern with different characteristics. Meanwhile, urban and rural environment are an integral whole. Without sound solutions to rural environmental problems, temporary improvement of urban environment will not last. We should treat environmental protection in rural areas and urban areas as equal and stick to synchronized development. We will focus our attention on drinking water safety and prevention of pollution from agricultural and industrial production in rural areas to promote steady progress of the overall improvement of rural environment and facilitate comprehensive amelioration of environmental quality in both rural and urban areas.


  To strengthen the coordination of development factors, we must mobilize all social forces to cultivate ecological civilization. Population, resources and the environment are three major elements for development. People are the dominant element for their initiative. They can be consumers of resources and the environment as well as protectors of them. To evolve from the consumer into the protector, people must have strong awareness in environmental protection and entrenched idea of ecological civilization. Therefore, we need to mobilize all social forces to promote environmental protection and cultivate ecological civilization. The essence of cultivating ecological civilization is to build a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society based on the carrying capacity of resources and the environment and the law of nature as well as the target of sustainable development. We must put environmental protection at the foremost position of the strategy for industrialization and modernization and make it a principle for every organization and household in a bid to deliver the kind of production and consumption mode suitable to ecological civilization. We will develop institutions for sustainable development, improve and implement the system of compensated use of resources, eco compensation system and strict target responsibility for environmental protection. We will focus on overall improvement of water environment in key river basins and rehabilitate overloaded rivers and lakes. We will make unremitting efforts to promote the idea of ecological civilization and create an atmosphere where every one cares for the environment and support to and participate in environmental protection. Every Chinese citizen with green consciousness will embrace the flower of ecological civilization.


  Dear Council Members,

  Through the long process of human civilization, countries in the world have never been connected so closely as today. Now the whole world is facing increasingly daunting environmental challenges. All countries should view these environmental problems from an integral perspective. The subconscious that to help others is to help ourselves should run deep and actions taken to enhance more pragmatic international cooperation and exchanges in the field of environmental protection. Only in this way can we have a bright future. Under the background of more complicated and unstable international economy with dramatic downturn, developed countries should maintain their official environmental grants to developing countries. Meanwhile, we need to break down the barriers to environmental technology cooperation; establish a rational mechanism for technological transfer and promote more rational distribution and flow of technology and funds; strive for coordinated development of the environment and economy in all countries and play a positive role in stabilizing global economy.


  This phase of CCICED is a critical period for China’s cause of environment and development. I believe, with strong leadership of the Chinese Government, wide support from international communities and joint efforts of all Council Members and experts, the Council is bound to achieve bumper harvest and make greater contributions to the promotion of the cause of China’s sustainable development. Finally I wish a complete success of the 2008 Annual General Meeting, and wish all guests a pleasant stay in Beijing.


  Thank you! 


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