"Ignorning such risks...would be perilous"
Tell that to some of the climate change deniers and 'skeptics'.
China Issues Warning on Environment
By ANDREW JACOBS
Published: February 28, 2011
BEIJING — China’s environment minister on Monday issued an unusually stark warning about the deleterious impacts of unbridled development on the country’s air, water and soil, saying the nation’s current path could stifle long-term economic growth and feed social instability.
In an essay published on the agency’s Web site, the minister, Zhou Shengxian, said the government would take a more aggressive role in determining whether development initiatives contributed to climate change through a new system of risk assessment.
Ignoring such risks, he said, would be perilous.
“In China’s thousands of years of civilization, the conflict between humankind and nature has never been as serious as it is today,” Mr. Zhou wrote. “The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the worsening ecological environment have become bottlenecks and grave impediments to the nation’s economic and social development.”
His comments, coupled with similar remarks by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao that were publicized in the state media on Monday, suggest that China may seek to embrace tighter environmental restrictions during legislative sessions that begin later this week in Beijing. The meetings, held once a year, will include the introduction of country’s latest five-year economic plan.
On Sunday, Mr. Wen lowered the target for average gross domestic product growth to 7 percent from 7.5 percent, and suggested that China would reconfigure the current emphasis that places economic growth above all else.
“We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption,” said Mr. Wen during an Internet chat widely publicized by the state media.
The remarks come at a time of unrelenting environmental degradation that has accompanied double-digit economic growth. Last year, China registered 10.3 percent growth, higher than its official target.
Mr. Zhou’s vow to weigh factors like climate change when approving new factories would be significant given that such policies are largely the domain of China’s top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, which has been reluctant to sacrifice economic growth for environmental protection.