Industrialization on track: report

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-29 07:04

China may complete the transformation from an agricultural economy into an industrial one by 2015, but the country still has a long way to go toward protecting its environment, according to a report by China's top scientific institutions.

China's Modernization Report 2007 found that the level of ecological protection in the country had failed to progress when compared with other nations over the last three years due to its rapid industrialization.

The country ranked 100th out of 118 developing and developed countries, the same ranking as in 2004, when the report was last issued.

The category "ecological modernization" was based on 30 indicators, including carbon dioxide discharge, daily sewage disposal rates, forest coverage and drinking water safety.

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"Compared with its social and economic modernization, China's ecological modernization lags far behind," said He Chuanqi, director of the research group that put together the report.

Ecological deterioration was a major problem for China, he added.

The report's conclusions were drawn from the research and opinions of experts and scholars at the Chinese Academy of Science, the Ministry of Science and Technology and China's elite universities.

Its predictions were based on China's economic growth from 1980 to 2004.

The report found that by 2015, the country's social and economic indicators will reach levels comparable to those in developed countries during the 1960s.

China has maintained an average annual growth rate of 9.6 percent since it began reforming its economy and opening up to the outside world.

The report lists 10 indicators by which it measures industrialization. It said China had succeeded in six of them, including life expectancy, adult literacy and access to higher education.

However, much work remains to be done in the four remaining measures per-capita gross national product (GNP); the value added of the service industry; the proportion of the work force in agriculture; and the percentage of urban residents within the total population.

China's economy has expanded swiftly in the past three decades, with the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growing at a 10.7-percent pace last year.

That growth has come at a huge ecological cost. Last year, the government failed to meet its own targets for energy consumption and pollution reduction.

The central government announced eight economic priorities for 2007 last month, with environmental protection listed third after macro-economic controls and agricultural development.

"The government needs to ensure that economic development will not result in further environmental deterioration in the next 50 years," said He.

The experts who participated in putting the report together recommended that the country set up three new high-level government bodies an environment ministry, an energy ministry and a regional development agency to ensure environmental and energy security, as well as coordinate regional development problems.

China Daily-Xinhua

(China Daily 01/29/2007 page3)

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