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UPDATED: December 8, 2010 NO. 49 DECEMBER 9, 2010
A Green Economy Begins to Bloom
Opportunities and challenges await China as it tends to its still-growing green economy

FEELING THE HEAT: A technician introduces to visitors the Dunhuang solar power project in Gansu Province. The Dunhuang 10-mw photovoltaic power station is the first of its kind in China and started operating in June 2010 (LIAN ZHENXIANG)

Supporting the global movement to "go green" is every country's responsibility. To show its commitment to green efforts, China recently held a four-day expo to raise environmental awareness and make a case for developing the green economy. The 2010 China International Green Industry Expo, held in Beijing on November 24-27, was co-sponsored by 12 ministries and commissions, the first time a large number of government organizations came together to host such an event.

At the expo, 85 domestic enterprises and 127 companies from 25 countries and regions displayed their green technologies and products.

During the opening ceremony, Li Keqiang, Vice Premier of the State Council, said the green economy would become a general trend and be widely accepted as China accelerates its economic transformation and as economic growth is increasingly restricted by resource and environmental factors.

China's drive to establish a green economy is less than a decade old, but already it has made considerable progress. By the end of 2009, renewable energy had accounted for 9 percent of the total primary energy consumption in China.

But China still has a long way to go before fulfilling its commitment made at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, last year: By 2020, China will reduce its carbon emissions per unit GDP by 40-45 percent from the 2005 level, and renewable energy will account for 15 percent of its total primary energy consumption. In addition, China faces many other problems and challenges in developing the green economy, especially its weak green technology development. It should be no surprise then that the Chinese Government has prioritized the development of the green economy.

In recent years, said Vice Minister of Environment Protection Wu Xiaoqing, the average annual growth of China's investment in the green industry has remained at 15-20 percent. This growth will likely remain steady as the industry grows, allowing China to become the world's biggest green market. Also, in the next five years, China's total environment protection investment demand will surpass 3 trillion yuan ($449.1 billion), doubling that in the past five years.

The development plan for the green industry, jointly formulated by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Environment Protection and some other ministries, has been approved by the State Council. The plan will provide technology, product and service support to the energy-saving, environment protection and recycling utilization industries to promote the formation and development of industrial chains within China's green economy.

Ways to advance

At the China International Green Industry Forum concurrently held with the Green Expo, Wu said China would follow four guidelines to ensure the development of the domestic green economy.

First, China will make it easier for market players to become involved in the green economy. It will also promote legal, economic, technological and other necessary administrative measures to promote clean production and recycling practices. Eliminating backward production processes and accelerating the transformation of traditional industries into green industries will be prioritized. The already limited capacity and development space will first be used to support environmentally friendly growth and then create a good external environment for green economy development.

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