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Analysis: Move to low-carbon economy emerges as key reform

Mar 9, 2010 - Xinhua

A low-carbon economy is becoming the favorite option for the future economic growth pattern in China because it is in line with the major world trend and reflects the country's fundamental situation.

"We need to energetically build an industrial system and consump tion pattern with low carbon emissions. We will participate in interna tional cooperation to address climate change and work for further prog ress in the global fight against climate change," Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in his government report presented on March 5.

The government's policy is based on the fact that China's compre hensive energy efficiency is only at 33 percent at present, about 10 p ercentage points lower than in developed countries.

Eight major industries, including electricity, iron and steel, n on-ferrous smelting, petrochemicals, building materials, chemicals, li ght industry, and textiles, have an average energy consumption that is 40 percent higher than the international standard.

The gap between the Chinese level and the international one indi cates an embarrassing reality of the high energy-reliance of China's e conomic growth. However, it also means that there is great potential f or China to implement energy-saving and emission reduction measures to raise the quality of its economic growth and make it greener.

The low-carbon philosophy is a key objective for the country. Th e challenge is to change an economic growth pattern characterized by h igh energy consumption and high carbon emission to green economic grow th.

Premier Wen's government report makes clear that the Chinese gov ernment has strong political determination to push forward the drive f or low-carbon development.

As the long-term goal has been identified, what the government s hould do is to elaborate the policy with concrete measures and regulat ions, and practical implementation.

The government also has the responsibility to educate the genera l public to accept the low-carbon concept, and encourage the country's entrepreneurs to innovate to fit for the low-carbon standards and inv est in clean-energy and environmentally friendly industries.

The international community, especially the wealthy countries, s hould also join in China's practical efforts to develop low-carbon eco nomies instead of just paying lip service.

Too much criticism and fabricated charges against China has been heard from some wealthy countries, including those whose people are st ill enjoying high standards of living through continued high carbon-em ission.

China, as the world's biggest developing country, does not begru dge these countries seeking a high standard of living for their people s. However, their criticism is unfounded, because although China's eco nomic growth has involved higher energy consumption compared with deve loped countries, the country's per capita energy consumption is much l ower than the international standard, let alone that of the wealthy na tions.

The country welcomes international help, especially low-carbon r elated technologies, to strengthen its efforts to achieve a low-carbon pattern of economic development, whether the western countries, the m ajor culprit of today's accumulated emission, shoulder their own respo nsibilities or not. (By Qiu Jun, Qiujun@xinhua.org)