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Special> United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development > Background
UPDATED: January 21, 2010 NO.51 DECEMBER 24, 2009
Develop Green Economy, Promote Sustained Growth

Speech at the Fifth China-EU Business Summit by Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

Nanjing, November 30, 2009

Your Excellency Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt,

Your Excellency President José Manuel Barroso,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the Fifth China-EU Business Summit. I wish to take this opportunity to express deep respect and heartfelt thanks to people from all sectors who have over the years made significant contribution to the growth of China-EU economic and trade relations and friendship between the people of China and Europe. At this crucial moment in tackling the international financial crisis, it is important to further enhance economic and trade cooperation between China and Europe. This will contribute not only to the growth of our own economies but also to the steady recovery and enduring prosperity of the world economy. I sincerely wish this Business Summit a complete success.

The theme of the Summit, "The Green Agenda: Sustaining Growth Beyond the Recovery", addresses an important area where we can enhance China-EU cooperation. A review of world industrialization over the last 200 years or more shows that the modernization of developed countries, with a population of no more than 1 billion, was achieved at a great cost to the resources and ecology of the whole world. A famous line from the World Conservation Strategy reads, "We have not inherited the earth from our parents; we have borrowed it from our children." To leave to future generations a planet where they can survive and thrive, we need to put in place a circular and sustainable system of national economy that generates high output with low input, low consumption and low emissions. We need to transform the existing patterns of development and consumption and move the world to a development path characterized by high productivity, prosperous lives and sound ecology.

In an effort to create a better home for the human race, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development adopted two guiding documents, the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, as well as a statement of principles on forests. It also opened for signature the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Since then, the concept of a "green culture" has drawn intense attention from countries around the world, and sustainable development has become a consensus of the international community. The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 and the Bali Road Map established in 2007 defined the responsibilities of countries at different stages of development in addressing climate change, giving rise to a global "green wave" emphasizing harmony between economic development and the environment. The upcoming Copenhagen Conference represents another important moment in international action on climate change. The willingness and commitments expressed by countries at Copenhagen will promote a historic shift towards green economy and sustainable development. The Chinese Government will take an active and constructive part in the Conference and looks forward to a positive outcome at Copenhagen.

This year is the most challenging one for China's economic and social development since the start of the new century. We have worked hard to come through this difficult period and meet various challenges with calm and composure. The international financial crisis has caused a sharp drop in our external demand and exacerbated the problem of overcapacity. As a result, more businesses experienced difficulties, more jobs were lost and the economy slowed down appreciably. In response to this, the Chinese Government promptly adopted 10 measures to boost domestic demand and promote steady and fairly fast economic growth. We resolutely implemented a proactive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy, adopted a comprehensive stimulus package to counter the impact of the international financial crisis and improved it in the course of implementation. Thanks to these efforts, we succeeded in reversing the economic slowdown in a short period of time. In the first 10 months of this year, the total retail sales increased by 15.3% year on year and urban fixed asset investment was up 33.1%. China's GDP grew by 7.7% in the first three quarters. While putting our own house in order, we have reached out to the world and actively pursued international economic cooperation and exchanges. We have increased import, outbound investment and foreign assistance, stepped up coordination on macroeconomic polices with other countries, and advanced reform of the international trade and financial systems. These are the active efforts on our part to promote world economic recovery.

In the face of the severe and complex economic environment at home and abroad, the Chinese Government has remained committed to the basic state policy of resource conservation and environmental protection. We have made all-round progress in implementing the National Climate Change Program. Some 14.6% of this year's additional investment has gone to economic restructuring, scientific and technological innovation, energy conservation, environmental protection and ecological enhancement, contributing to green, circular and sustained development. Notable progress has been made in energy conservation and pollution reduction. Energy consumption per unit of GDP is expected to drop considerably compared with last year, and sulfur dioxide emissions and chemical oxygen demand are expected to decline by 2.1% and 2.7% respectively. Positive results have been achieved in shutting down backward production capacities. Over 21 gigawatts of small coal-fired power generating capacity and more than 1,000 small coal mines will have been closed by the end of the year. Forest carbon sink has increased. Forest coverage in China rose to 20.36% in 2008, meeting the target we had announced to the world two years ahead of schedule. Construction of environmental facilities has been accelerated. Daily urban sewage treatment capacity has increased by 11.25 million cubic meters in 2009, and exhaust gas desulfurization facilities have been installed in coal-fired power plants with a capacity of 70 gigawatts. Green industries are mushrooming. In 2008, the share of renewable and clean energy in primary energy consumption grew to 9%. China ranked number one in the world in terms of installed hydro power capacity, nuclear power capacity under construction, the coverage of solar panel of water heater and cumulative installed photovoltaic power capacity, and fourth in the world for installed wind power capacity. These are major achievements in China's efforts to adjust economic structure and transform development pattern. They also contributed positively to the global endeavor to develop green economy and tackle climate change.

A couple of days ago, the Chinese Government announced that by 2020, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be reduced by 40-45% from the 2005 level, the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption will be increased to around 15%, forest coverage will be raised by 40 million hectares, and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters. These are voluntary actions China will take in light of its national conditions. They represent China's great contribution to a strong global response to the climate challenge and fully demonstrate China's sense of responsibility to the Chinese nation and the entire human race. Extraordinary efforts will be required to meet these targets, and we are determined to adopt even stronger actions and more effective policies to fulfill this commitment.

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