Green Development Model and Green Way of Life*
May 26, 2017
Promoting the green development model and a green way of life is an essential requirement of our new development concepts. We must give top priority to ecological progress in our overall plan, follow the basic state policy of resource conservation and environmental protection, and give high priority to saving resources, protecting the environment, and promoting its natural restoration. We must develop a resource-saving and eco-friendly land-utilization planning system, industrial structure, mode of production, and way of life. We should strive for the coordinated development and common progress of the economy, society, and environmental protection, and create a good environment for our people to work and live in.
Humanity must respect, protect, and stay in harmony with nature in its development activities; otherwise nature will take its revenge. This is a law that everyone should observe. Humanity relies on nature, and the relationship between the two is one of symbiosis. Harm to nature will eventually hurt humanity. Only by following the law of nature can we effectively avoid going astray in our exploitation and utilization of nature. Since the introduction of reform and opening up in 1978, our achievements in social and economic development, of which we are rightly proud, have been historic. At the same time, however, many environmental problems have arisen. These problems have become prominent deficiencies and have become pressing concerns to the public. We must redouble our efforts to address them.
Promoting the green development model and a green way of life represents a profound revolution in people's mindset on development. This requires us to adopt and implement the new development concepts, and strike a proper balance between economic growth and environmental protection. We should protect the ecosystems as preciously as we protect our eyes, and cherish it as dearly as we cherish our lives. We must be resolute in casting aside the growth model that harms or even destroys the environment, and in abandoning the practice of development at the expense of the environment for temporary economic growth in certain localities. The protection and improvement of the ecosystems will help improve quality of life, sound and sustainable social and economic development, and present an image of an environmentally friendly China. We should strive to build a beautiful China where skies are blue, mountains green, and waters lucid.
We must be aware that it is an important, pressing, but difficult task to adopt the green development model and a green way of life. We must place it high on our agenda and speed up the building of a rational, appropriate, and well-designed plan for land use, an industrial system for green, circular, and low-carbon development, a complete supporting system for ecological progress which attaches equal importance to incentives and restraints, and an environmental governance system jointly implemented by the government, enterprises, and the public. We will speed up our work on drawing three red lines for protecting the ecosystems, covering ecological function security, basic environmental quality standards, and natural resource utilization. We will step up environmental protection in all respects, in all places, and in all the processes of production, distribution and consumption.
In regard to promoting the green development model and a green way of life, I want to propose the following six key tasks:
First, accelerate the shift of the economic growth model. To fundamentally improve the ecosystems, we must abandon the model based on an increase in material resource consumption, extensive development, high energy consumption, and high emissions. We should rely on innovation to pursue a more innovation-driven development which is oriented towards the future and gives full play to first-mover advantage. This is an important part of supply-side structural reform.
Second, intensify the comprehensive control of environmental pollution. We will resolve the pressing problems of air, water, and soil pollution on a priority basis, and redouble our efforts in environmental pollution prevention and control. We will carry out the Action Plan on Air Pollution Prevention and Control, strengthen water pollution prevention and control, conduct soil pollution control and soil restoration projects, reinforce prevention and control of wide-spread pollution in agriculture, and intensify comprehensive environmental governance in urban and rural areas.
Third, accelerate environmental protection and restoration. We must prioritize conservation and promote natural restoration, carry out an integrated program of protection and restoration for mountains, waters, forests, farmlands and lakes, launch large-scale land greening campaigns, and step up comprehensive control of soil erosion, desertification, and stony desertification.
Fourth, promote all-round resource conservation and efficient resource utilization. Environmental problems, in the final analysis, are caused by over-exploitation, inefficient utilization, and wasteful consumption of resources. We exploit and utilize natural resources to guarantee a happy life for the people, but at the same time we should leave to our future generations sufficient resources for their needs. We should establish a mindset of conserving, recycling, and efficiently using resources, and strive to obtain maximum social and economic benefits at a minimum cost in resources and environment.
Fifth, advocate and popularize green consumption. Ecological progress is a matter for everyone. Each of us should pursue and advance ecological progress. We should enhance publicity and education on the need to promote ecological progress, and raise environmental consciousness among the people, encourage them to develop a green way of life and a consumption model characterized by economy, moderate consumption, and low carbon, and foster a social trend in favor of eco-conservation.
Sixth, refine the overall mechanism for ecological progress with complete supporting systems. To promote green development and guarantee ecological progress, it is imperative to have the strictest possible institutions and legislation in place. We must improve the natural resource assets management system, strengthen natural resources and environmental regulation, implement environmental inspections and an eco-compensation system, and refine the system of public participation in the protection of the environment.
Officials have a key role to play in implementing eco-conservation programs. We must implement an eco-conservation responsibility system for officials during their tenure of office and an audit of natural resource assets when they leave their posts. We must clearly identify, in accordance with laws and regulations, the items for which officials at all levels are to be held accountable throughout their lifetime. In doing so, we will follow the principles of objectivity and fairness, rational conclusions, and balance between power and responsibility. Any official responsible for damage to the environment must be held accountable. All Party committees and governments must attach great importance to this and provide stronger leadership. Party discipline inspection commissions and organization departments, together with the government's oversight agencies, must assume their responsibilities and join efforts to form a synergistic force.
* Main points of the speech at the 41st group study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee.
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