Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability
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2011 11th issue: Wei Jianguo: It is Feasible and Practical for China to Develop Low-Carbon Economy

Wei Jianguo, Secretary-General of China Center for International Economic Exchanges, former Deputy Minister of Ministry of Commerce

Time: 10/12/2011                                Source: IEEPA

Overall economic situation in China this year faces more challenges, which are embodied on decreasing export. At present, the pressures facing China are shown as follows: 1) rising price of raw material; 2) increasing labor cost; 3) US-led trade protectionism; 4) RMB appreciation. In addition, import business increases greatly, which covered not only equipments, but raw materials like ore, crude oil. Besides, China, with 3 trillion foreign exchange reserves, will further expand import policy, and import other consumer goods like wine, bags, gold or silver jewelry and so on. At the same time, we shall adjust custom accordingly. According to optimistic estimate, this year has 100 billion trade surplus, and 50-100 billion according to conservative estimate.

The principal problem we are facing now is inflation, which will cause further economic restructuring unless being solved in time. Currently, deficient electric power and expensive coal price still exist, Chinese enterprises shall consider how to develop nuclear power business. Another problem to be considered is the difficulty for medium and small-sized enterprises to get loan.

Currently, various nations in the globe have made great efforts to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable development and address climate change. However, since 2008, global financial crisis has forced various countries to expand their cooperation, also bring more quarrels and disputes, some of which even affect their mutual trust in terms of environmental protection. In particular, several problems to be mentioned are that the negotiation on greenhouse gas emission has not follow up the basic principles and directions of Kyoto Protocol and Bali Roadmap. At the same time, I myself am not optimistic on the Durban conference at the end of this year, its prospect will remain unclear, and I'm confused whether we can achieve the objective that temperature will rise two degree by 2050. Nonetheless, an encouraging trend is that various countries in the globe are making great efforts to seek new economic growth incentives and technology development direction.

Against the backdrop of austerity of addressing climate change, urgency on seeking new driving force for economic growth, we shall further consider the role of low carbon plays in the economic transformation of China and the world. China formulated planning and proposals of "the 12th FYP" in the Fifth Plenum of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and National People's Congress passed the outline of "the 12th FYP" in March this year, which put forward the development goal, emphasis and strategy in the next five years. According to "the 12th FYP", China will take the outlook of scientific development as the title, transformation of economic development pattern as mainline, and make a series of change in development mode, strategy and ideas, among which one of the important tasks is to transform development pattern from past high-input, high-energy-consumption, low-output into low-input, low energy and high-output resource-saving and environment-friendly type. In the face of international pressure of emission reduction, restriction of domestic economic development and resource and environment, low carbon economy will become feasible development pattern. In order to development low carbon economy, China shall accelerate energy structure adjustment, enhance energy efficiency, industrial restructuring, consumption mode transformation, exert potential, strengthen cooperation with international organizations and other countries. For the sake of global benefit, China's environmental protection and international cooperation in the future shall focus on following aspects:

The development of green and low-carbon economy shall aim at eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development, shall honor the local conditions of different countries, shall follow up the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and establish a new, fair and just international economic order.

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