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UPDATED: November 16, 2011
China Eyes Green Growth, Vows to Curb Pollution

Top Chinese leaders on Tuesday pledged to promote green growth and curb pollution as the country strives to transform its economy.

"The Chinese government attaches great importance to environmental protection and considers it an important foundation for the country's economic restructuring process," Premier Wen Jiabao told a group of foreign experts on environment and development.

The foreign guests are in Beijing for the annual meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), an international think-tank for the government.

"Green growth focuses on energy conservation, reduced energy consumption, sustainable development and environmental protection," Wen said, noting pollution has become a daunting challenge for China's economic development.

China will improve its legal system with regards to environmental protection and enhance its environmental monitoring standards, he said.

"We will further integrate our standards with relevant international standards," Wen told the guests, explaining that such an aspiration aims to narrow the gap between monitoring results and how the Chinese people feel about their living environment.

The premier also spoke highly of the policy suggestions that the CCICED has proposed in the 20 years since its establishment, and expressed his hope that the organization will continue its role in helping promote China's sustainable development.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang gave an address at the opening session of the annual meeting, saying China will speed up transforming its economic growth mode, stimulate domestic demand, improve energy efficiency and upgrade innovation to realize harmony between the economy and environment.

"Transforming also means development," said Li, also chairman of the CCICED, adding it could lift the quality of development, ease the limitation of natural resources and environment, and even create new opportunities, industries and growth pillars.

The scope of China's energy-saving, environmental protection and recycling industries has exceeded 2 trillion yuan ($315 billion), and is expected to double by 2015, Li said.

He stressed that the transformation of China's development mode will feature expanding domestic demand, innovation, improving people's livelihoods, green and low-carbon emissions.

"China will take comprehensive measures in the coming five years to decrease the energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 16 percent, and increase the added value of service industries by 4 percentage points, which will vigorously promote the economic transformation," Li said.

He also said China's development relies on the deepening of reform.

"China's reform is facing the most difficult challenges, and it should be furthered throughout the stage of transforming development," he said.

China will build up related mechanisms, perfect its policies on investment, finance, taxation and trade, push for a differentiated and graded policy on energy consumption with the help of the leverage of price, he said.

Within the context of globalization, China will follow the global momentum of economic restructuring, further its opening up strive and actively take part in international competition, and expand related international cooperation, Li said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2011)

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