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Synergically Promote High-quality Economic Development and High-level Protection of Ecological Environment

Submit Time:01-08-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Qin Zunwen and Lu Hongwei | Source:Guangming Daily (June 21, 2018)

Abstract:

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has placed the ecological development at an outstanding position, and integrated it in all aspects and the whole course of economic, political, cultural and social construction, well replying the major theoretical and practical questions on why we should implement ecological development, what kind of ecological civilization we should develop and how we should develop ecological civilization, and put forth a series of new concepts, ideas and strategies, forming the Xi Jinping’s thought on ecological civilization, which is an important component of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. We must study and carry out deeply the Xi Jinping’s thought on ecological civilization in developing ecological civilization, completing the building of a beautiful China, and achieve better quality, more efficient, fairer, and more sustainable development.  

1.   Green development is an inevitable requirement for building a high-quality modern economic system 

Over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has made great achievements in economic and social development, contributing more than 30% to the world economic growth. In the meantime, the resource constraints in China are becoming increasingly tight, with its environmental carrying capacity close to the upper limit. It is difficult to sustain the extensive and low efficiency growth pattern relying on factors and low cost. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed at the National Conference on Protection of Ecological Environment that, as China’s economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, we need to cross some conventional and non-conventional thresholds. We must clench our teeth to go across this slope and barrier.  

Ecological environment is a major political issue related to the mission and tenet of the Party. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed at the National Conference on Protection of Ecological Environment that, “the time is limited and the tasks are heavy with great difficulties in fighting against pollution, and it is a big, formidable and hard battle, we must strengthen the leadership of the Party. All regions and departments should strengthen the “four consciousnesses”, firmly safeguard the authority and the centralized and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, and resolutely shoulder the political responsibility of ecological civilization development.” He stressed many times the important role of leading cadres in ecoenvironmental protection, and pointed out that “the key of properly implementing ecoenvironmental protection lies in the leading cadres”, and “leading cadres responsible for causing damage to the ecoenvironment must be seriously accounted for responsibilities”. At present, the environmental protection supervision by the central government has covered 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, the responsibilities of local CPC Committees and governments as the main bodies of environmental protection have been properly implemented, producing powerful deterrence on polluters, and having solved a large number of outstanding environmental problems as concerns of the masses. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, China is becoming an important participant, contributor and leader in the construction of global ecological civilization.  

Green development is an inevitable requirement for building a high-quality modern economic system, and a fundamental solution to the problem of pollution. It is an urgent need of the Chinese people to live a better life in the new era and an inherent requirement for sustainable economic and social development to firmly take the new path of giving priority to ecology and green development. Faced with the historical opportunity to leap to a higher stage of development and the opportunity and challenge of a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial reform in the world, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core follows the law of development, complies with the expectations of the people and demonstrates its leadership responsibility, and takes the ecological development and green development as the fundamental program for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation, and an important step forward has been taken in building a beautiful China. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Party Central Committee has firmly declared war against pollution, have implemented the three major action plans on atmosphere, water and soil pollution prevention and control, having solved a number of major environmental problems, major ecological protection and restoration projects are in smooth progress, the ecological environment harnessing has been obviously enhanced, and the environmental conditions have been improved significantly. The concept that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets is enjoying popular support.  

2.   A good ecological environment is the fulcrum of sustained and healthy economic and social development 

Xi Jinping's Thought on ecological civilization is a major theoretical and practical innovation achievement of our Party. To deeply implement and carry out Xi Jinping’s thought on ecological civilization, we should firmly rejected any developing pattern that damages the ecological environment, firmly rejected any practice to achieve economic growth for local area and short period of time at the expense of ecological environment , let the good ecological environment become the growth point of people's life, become the support point for the sustainable and healthy economic and social development, and become the demonstrating point of the good image of our country, to provide guarantee for sustainable development of the Chinese nation, and offer reference for the modernization process of the mankind.  

We should ensure harmony between human and nature. It is pointed out in the report at the 19th National Congress of the CPC that: “The modernization that we pursue is one characterized by harmonious coexistence between man and nature. In addition to creating more material and cultural wealth to meet people’s ever-increasing needs for a better life, we need also to provide more quality ecological goods to meet people’s ever-growing demands for a beautiful environment.” High-quality development focuses more on the people as the center, and good ecoenvironment is the people's livelihood welfare with the largest coverage. To promote high-quality development, we should attach more importance to the improvement of quality and efficiency and the coordinated development of economic construction, social construction and ecological development, and pay closer attention to the sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security of the people. Ecology should benefit the people and serve the people. We encourage simple, moderate, green, and low-carbon ways of life, establish linkages between the circular use of resources and materials in industrial production and in everyday life, complete the green and low-carbon economic system for cycling development, and endeavor to make green development a general form, to realize a new pattern for modernization construction with harmonious development of man and nature.  

We will adhere to the concept that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets”. Good ecological environment is an important factor and endogenous variable related to high quality development. The key to realizing development with better quality is properly handling the relationship between lucid waters and lush mountains and the invaluable assets. This is not only the intrinsic requirement to realize sustainable development, but also the major principle in advancing the socialist modernization. General Secretary Xi Jinping has stressed: “we should firmly rejected any developing pattern that damages and even destroys the ecological environment” and “firmly establish the idea that protecting the ecoenvironment is protecting the productive force, and improving the ecoenvironment is developing the productive force”. To advance to the phase of high-quality development, we must implement the innovative, coordinated, green, open and sharing concept of development, get rid of the complex of speed and dependence of route, and act more fast to develop spatial layouts, industrial structures, and ways of work and life that help conserve resources and protect the environment, to provide time and space for the natural ecology to rehabilitate.  

3.   Conscientiously coordinate economic and social development with the development of ecological civilization 

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed at the National Conference on Protection of Ecological Environment that, “we should conscientiously coordinate economic and social development with the development of ecological civilization”. We should, with Xi Jinping’s thought on ecological civilization, continually raise the environment governance level, speed up the construction of ecological civilization system, and promote synergically the high-quality development of economy and the high-level protection of ecological environment. To this end, efforts should be made mainly in the following aspects.  

Speed up the building of ecological civilization system. Firmly aiming at the goal of a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful, we should, according to the requirements to promote high-quality development, give full play to the leadership of the Party and the political advantage of the socialist system of China to concentrate forces for major tasks, unswervingly take the new road of ecology in priority and green development, and establish and complete the ecological civilization system covering the ecological culture system, ecological economy system, target-oriented responsibility system, ecological civilization institutional system and ecological security system.  

Give full play to the role of the government and market. We should well allocate the responsibilities in ecoenvironment protection, enhance the rigid restriction of ecoenvironment protection on the industrial transition and upgrading, and enable the government to regulate more precisely the macroscopic readjustment of industrial structure; we should give full play to the decisive role of market in selecting the development direction and technical lines of green industry, thoroughly reject the old practice of investment and factor input as the dominance, fully implement the innovation-driven development strategy, and correctly handle the relationship of rejecting old growth drivers and fostering new growth drivers, so that the work in environmental protection will shift from harnessing at the end to control at the source and innovation at the head, to reversely force growth driver conversion and regeneration, and push the existing manufacturing industry to change in the intelligent, green and service orientation. We should speed up the green industry system construction, increase the green content in economic development, realize the scientific and orderly development, and high quality development, and cultivate the new growth drivers for development such as new industries, new business forms and new patterns, to promote virtuous cycle that expands domestic demand and improves ecological environment.  

Deeply carry out the strategy of main functional zones. We should keep the global situation in mind, make general planning, develop overall policies and take multiple actions, respect, conform with and protect the nature, take the bearing capacity of resource and environment as the rigid constraint condition, and lay a solid foundation for high-quality development. We should, on the basis of the requirements of the main body functional zone planning of the state, correctly handle the relationship of overall planning and long-term tasks, and firmly press ahead work according to one blueprint in a down-to-earth way. We should complete the supportive policies for the main functional zones, complete the ecological protection compensation mechanism that links the effect of ecological protection with the fund distribution of financial transfer payment, increase the financial transfer payment to areas restricted or prohibited to develop, and ensure that all areas undertake the responsibilities of high-quality development jointly and with differences. We should make overall planning for population distribution, economic layout, land use and ecological environment protection, scientific layout of production space, living space and ecological space, leave more space for the natural to repair, and more fertile land for farming.  

Win the battle to prevent and control pollution. The apparent improvement of air quality should be taken as a rigid requirement, and joint prevention and control be strengthened, to basically eliminate weather with heavy pollution, and restore the blue sky, white clouds and twinkling stars. We will thoroughly implement the action plan to prevent and control water pollution, ensure the safety of drinking water, basically eliminate the black and smelly water bodies in cities, and resume the scene of clean water and green banks with swimming fish. We will fully implement the action plan to prevent and control soil pollution, with emphasis in key areas, industries and pollutants, strengthen control and repair of soil pollution, and effectively prevent risks. The hard battle of pollution prevention and control will be well combined with targeted poverty alleviation, great efforts will be made in the poverty alleviation and rural rejuvenation strategy in the 14 contiguous areas of extreme poverty in the whole country, continually implement ecomigration and relocation, and prevent water and soil erosion.  

Contribute Chinese wisdom to global sustainable development. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road International Forum for Cooperation that, we should practice the new concept of green development, advocate the green, low-carbon, cycling and sustainable way of production and life, strengthen cooperation in ecoenvironmental protection, develop ecological civilization and jointly realize the sustainable development goal of 2030. Standing at the new start point of reform and opening up as a node in history, we should adapt to the new situation of economic globalization, adopt a more proactive opening-up strategy, seek common global ecological civilization construction, and deeply participate in global environmental governance based on the overall situation of human sustainable development, to produce solutions to the world environmental protection and sustainable development, promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and demonstrate the undertaking of a major and responsible country.  

 (Author entities: Qin Zunwen, Hubei Academy of Social Sciences o; Lu Hongwei, Institute of Finance and Trade Research of Hubei Academy of Social Sciences )


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