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Develop a Modern China with Ecological Progress——Speech of Vice Premier of the State Council and Chairman of CCICED Li Keqiang at the Opening Ceremony of CCICED 2012 Annual General Meeting


   Vice Premier of the State Council and Chairman of CCICED Li Keqiang attended the opening ceremony of CCICED 2012 Annual General Meeting and gave a speech in Beijing on December 12, 2012. 

    Photo by Wang Ye from Xinhua News Agency 

   Vice Premier of the State Council and Chairman of CCICED Li Keqiang attended the opening ceremony of CCICED 2012 Annual General Meeting and gave a speech in Beijing on December 12, 2012. 

    Photo by Wang Ye from Xinhua News Agency 

  All Vice Chairs, Members and experts,

  Ladies and gentlemen,

  I am very happy to meet you. I have attended the AGM of CCICED several times. At each meeting, I met old friends and got to know new friends. A moment ago, all Members adopted the Agenda of this AGM and the Charter of the new phase of CCICED. This shows that we have the same wish in strengthening international cooperation and improving the environment and development cause of China as well as the world. The just concluded 18th National Congress of CPC drew the blueprint for the future development of China and put the development of ecological civilization at a more prominent position in the modernization process of China. Themed as "Regional Balance and Green Development", this AGM will discuss important issues concerning the development of ecological civilization in China which is of great significance. Taking this opportunity, I would like talk about some of my viewpoints.

  Ecological civilization originates from the reflections on the development and is the uplifting of development. The history of human development is the history of development of civilization. It is also the history of the relations between man and the nature. History shows the rise of some ancient civilizations was due to good ecology and the fall of some civilizations was due to ecological deterioration. In the past 300 years, man have created huge amount of material wealth in the process of industrialization, but they also paid high cost in terms of resources and environment. The international communities began to consider issues such as "Growth Limit" and "the Only One Earth" since the late 20th century and put forward concepts like circular economy, green development and ecological civilization. The United Nations held four conferences on environment and development and reached the consensus on promoting sustainable development and addressing climate change, which has gradually been translated into the action of all countries in the world. We could say that ecological civilization is the inheritance and innovation of agricultural civilization and industrial civilization and comforming to the direction of the development of human civilization.

  There has been ecological thoughts such as "Tao runs with itself after its nature" and "man is an integral part of nature" since ancient times in China. These thoughts still enlighten us for today’s development. Since 1970s, China has been attaching importance to the prevention and control of pollution and actively taking part in the world cause of environment and development. Over the past 30 more years since reform and opening up, China has promoted modernization, carried out basic national policy of conservation of resources and protection of the environment and taken a series of effective measures, which led to the slowdown of the eco environment deterioration. However, we clearly understand that China is still facing serious eco environmental problems. Relatively insufficient resources and limited environmental carrying capacity become the new reality of our country and the "short board" of development. The aim of our great effort to promote the development of ecological civilization is just to break this bottleneck.

  Marching towards a modern China of ecological civilization is a new topic for us and a due component of the development of Xiaokang society in an all round way. We should keep on developing industrial civilization and meanwhile vigorously carry forward ecological civilization. There is no precedent in human history to achieve modernization in a big country like China with over 1.3 billion population. Protecting ecological environment in such a vast country is also a tough task for the whole world. We are facing unprecedented development opportunities, risks and challenges. Therefore, we must have the suffering consciousness of walking on the steel line and firm confidence of climbing the high. The industrialization and urbanization of developed countries which have been gradually achieved over the past several hundred years is happening in our country at a accelerated pace. The contradiction between development with limited resources and the environment gradually occurred in developed countries over the past 100 years occurred in our country over the past decade. Learning the successful experience and lessons of failure from the rest of the world and giving full play of late-development advantages of the emerging countries, we could avoid the old path of "treatment after pollution" and explore a new development path. China will further establish the concept of ecological civilization that respects the nature, complies with the nature and protects the nature, integrate the development of ecological civilization into the modernization process, accelerate the transformation of economic development mode, protect the environment in the process of development and achieve development in the process of environmental protection, and achieve a win-win situation of economic development, improvement of public welfare and protection of ecology through the change of development mode.

  To develop a modern China with ecological civilization, we should make more efforts in the following major aspects.

  1) Transformation of development mode. China is the biggest developing country in the world, the top priority is to achieve economic and social development. Environmental problems, to the end, occurs in the process of development and shall be addressed in the process of development. Meanwhile, development shall be sustainable development and scientific development, and shall follow the modernization path characterized by ecological civilization. Good eco environment is the wealth that cannot be bought or borrowed. It does not work that have beautiful mountains and clear waters but living in poverty. And it is also unworkable that people live a Xiaokang life but in a deteriorated environment. We will optimize the development pattern of the land space to form reasonable production space, life space and ecological space. We will facilitate the implementation of major ecological, environmental protection and energy conservation projects. 3.4 trillion yuan is planned in ecological conservation and environmental protection for the "12th Five-Year Plan" period. We will take energy saving and emission reduction as the important breakthrough for industrial restructuring and innovation and transformation of economic development mode. It is expected that CO2 emission per unit GDP will go down by 17% by 2015 compared with that of 2010. Only when we put development on the bases of sustained resources and environment carrying capacity can we live well today without worrying tomorrow and achieve sustainable development of our country in the process of transformation.

  2) Improving public welfare. Both the promotion of modernization and development of ecological civilization are for the people and for the comprehensive development of the people. With the improved living standard, people have more urgent need for good eco environment. Environmental problem becomes an important welfare issue. People wish to live and work in peace and content with more income. They also hope to have blue sky, green land and clean water. The government has the responsibility to mobilize more efforts of all stakeholders to prevent and control pollution, solve all new environmental problems and address old environmental problems as many as possible. We shall provide more ecological products while supplying sufficient material and cultural products. In the beginning of this year, China began to monitor PM2.5 and made public the data at all municipalities and provincial capitals of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, the Yangtze River delta and Pearl River delta area and has taken targeted measures to strengthen control and gradually improve the air quality after some period of time of efforts. Protecting ecological environment is conducive to our nation, the society, individuals and generations to come. The home with beautiful eco environment is the home for all the people and needs joint efforts of the people to build. The whole society shall raise the awareness and create good atmosphere so that everyone can do from themselves and from the little things around. Small actions will converge into vigorous strength for development of ecological civilization.

  3) Expanding the market. Expanding domestic demands is the basic strategy for the development of China. Synchronized promotion of industrialization, urbanization, information technology and agricultural modernization creates huge potential for domestic demand. The new industrialization and urbanization that we are creating shall be the industrialization and urbanization characterized by ecological civilization. It promises huge market with unlimited prospect and brings about large scale ecological industry. Whether the application of renewable energy or energy saving reform of buildings or the treatment of sewage and garbage, all will be new economic growth engine. Taking photovoltaic cells as an example, the total installed capacity in our country is less than 10% of annual output, so there is huge potential for domestic market. We will take measures such as encouraging the application of solar energy power generation equipment in the process of urbanization and support on-grid of distributed power generation to expand the market across the country and facilitate sustainable and healthy development of photovoltaic industry. It is expected that the installed capacity of solar energy generating units will reach 50 million kW in China by 2020. If we say green environment is a treasure place with numerous value, ecological industry will be endless treasures. We shall consolidate agriculture, strengthen the manufacturing industry and expand service industry to form new advantages for the development of these industries. Meanwhile, we shall also develop circular economy, energy saving and environmental industry as well as low carbon industry, and seize new commanding ground of for economical development.

  4) Deepening reform. Reform and opening up is the only way for development especially for transformational development and the strong momentum for modernization. Promoting the development of ecological civilization needs not only material support and spiritual driving force, but also reform and institutional innovation. Energy saving and environmental protection are profound reform of production pattern and life style and involve renewal of ideas and adjustment of interests. We must give play to the lever role of system and mechanism and shake off traditional development path. This requires to accelerate the reform in areas including pricing, finance, taxation, monetary, administration and enterprise, improve systems such as compensated use of resources, compensation for environmental damages and eco compensation, improve assessment, examination, rewards and punishment as well as accountability mechanisms, strengthen legal system in the field of resources and environment, employ system to encourage and discipline enterprises, employ laws to regulate and standardize conducts so that the biggest "dividend" of reform will be reflected more in the development of ecological civilization, scientific development and transformational development.

  5) Strengthening cooperation. Environment and development is the common challenge of the global community and green development is the common interests of all countries. As a big economic player in the world with vast land, if China could addressing well these issues, it will be a big contribution to the whole mankind. We will take ecological conservation and environmental protection as an important area for opening up, continuously strengthen environmental cooperation with other countries and international organizations, introduce and absorb advanced concepts, treatment technologies, management modes and good experience. Our market is open market for fair competition. We welcome foreign enterprises to develop ecological industry in China. China is a responsible country. We will further facilitate the enforcement of international environment conventions and protocols, assume our due obligations based on the principles of common but differentiated responsibility, equity and respective capability to jointly address global climate change and promote the cause of environment and development of the mankind.

  Environmental protection is the key platform for the development of ecological civilization. I hope that relevant departments including MEP and NDRC shall closely coordinate with local governments to facilitate regional coordinated development, perform as the leaders, propellers and enforcers for the development of ecological civilization, develop the target system and methods for the development of ecological civilization, improve systems, mechanisms and policy measures, and make new contributions to the development of the country and improvement of public welfare.

  Members and experts,

  With 20 years of development, CCICED has participated in and witnessed the progress of environment and development of China, carried out many studies on the practical issues on environment and development of China, put forward many good policy recommendations in areas such as eco compensation, circular economy, clean development and low carbon development, facilitated the implementation of relevant activities of China and made active achievements.

  The meeting today marks the beginning of new phase of CCICED. I hope that all Council Members and experts would give further play to their role as a bridge and tie with the international community on environment cooperation, continuously expand its research areas, attach more importance on achievements sharing and contribute to the sustainable development cause of China and the world as well.

  Finally, I wish a complete success of CCICED 2012 AGM! I wish all Council Members and experts a pleasant stay, good health and happy family!

  Thank you!

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