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Greener path ahead

China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-13 07:27

The pledge to accelerate investment in technology to save energy and tackle pollution symbolizes a fundamental change toward more sustainable development, a change that is desperately needed in the world's second-largest economy.

The State Council said on Sunday that environmental protection has been elevated to a "pillar industry" and it will receive government support in the form of tax breaks. According to a three-year plan, the environmental protection industry is to grow by 15 percent a year and will generate 4.5 trillion yuan ($735 billion) by 2015.

The flow of private and foreign capital to the sector will be encouraged as well to facilitate the plan.

The State Council has also vowed to accelerate equipment upgrading and technological innovation for environmental protection and the recycling of resources, and it will seek to expand the demand for energy-saving products, such as electric vehicles. It will also beef up environmental protection services and develop pollution control technology.

Undoubtedly, increased efforts by the government to improve environmental protection and save energy will help promote China's ongoing economic restructuring, create new areas of investment and consumption, and establish a more sustainable development mode.

The initiative will set the country on a more sustainable development path and will help ease the public's concerns about the air, water and soil pollution that have accompanied the country's rapid economic development.

It has become a consensus throughout society that the country must make the transition away from economic growth that compromises the environment and public health.

And, as one of the world's major greenhouse gas emitters, any substantial steps toward energy saving and environmental protection will mark a considerable contribution to international efforts against global warming.

The elevation of environmental protection to a pillar industry and the follow-up measures also reflect China's unyielding efforts to keep its commitment to the world in terms of carbon emission reduction despite the huge challenge it faces in stabilizing its decelerating economy.

(China Daily 08/13/2013 page8)

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