China leads global efforts in environmental conservation
Tourists enjoy the sights of Taoranting park during good weather in Beijing, capital of China, April 7, 2023. /Xinhua
Tourists enjoy the sights of Taoranting park during good weather in Beijing, capital of China, April 7, 2023. /Xinhua

Tourists enjoy the sights of Taoranting park during good weather in Beijing, capital of China, April 7, 2023. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Stephen Ndegwa, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is the Executive Director of South-South Dialogues, a Nairobi-based communications development think tank. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

June 5 marks World Environment Day under the theme "Beat Plastic Pollution." Plastics can cause damage to the environment since plastic waste is non-degradable, which means that it can remain in the environment forever if not properly recycled or disposed.

According to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in April 2022, "China's efforts in recycling plastic waste have made a significant contribution to the battle against climate change, reducing crude oil consumption and preventing millions of metric tons in carbon emissions."

The report also suggests that China has the world's largest plastic recycling capacity, and has established a market-based plastic recycling system with wide-ranging coverage, which accounts for 45 percent of the world's plastic recycling. That reflects China's effective performance in plastic management and its stern faith in environmental protection.

According to a global survey poll published on May 17, a majority of the world's population approves of China's initiatives in eco-civilization. The poll shows that the general principles of eco-civilization in the New Era set out by Chinese President Xi Jinping five years ago have met their objectives.

Findings of the survey agreed that China has expressly included "the harmony between man and nature" in the basic premise of its modernization, and promoted green development in building a beautiful country. Even amid the unprecedented social and economic transformation in the last four decades or so, China has registered great developments in establishing clean air, quality of surface water and forest cover.

According to the survey, 88.7 percent believe that China's achievements in environmental protection deserve high praise, while 92.9 percent of respondents highly approved of China's energy conservation and emission reduction efforts. Indeed, the eco-environment is the most all-inclusive public good whose protection and exploitation has the biggest benefits.

It is now universally agreed that respect, acceptance and protection of nature is an effective boost for quality economic development. Fortunately, China is willing and ready to share its expertise and experience with other countries, particularly those in the Global South who need it most.

President Xi has been at the forefront in advocating for a community of life for man and nature. In his speech on building such a community delivered at the Leaders Summit on Climate in April 2021, the Chinese president first addressed the concept of a "community for man and nature."

Citizens walking in Huancheng park in Hefei City, east China's Anhui Province, May 5, 2021. /Xinhua
Citizens walking in Huancheng park in Hefei City, east China's Anhui Province, May 5, 2021. /Xinhua

Citizens walking in Huancheng park in Hefei City, east China's Anhui Province, May 5, 2021. /Xinhua

Xi introduced China's proposals for strengthening global environmental governance, outlined the course and urgency of global environmental governance, and demonstrated China's responsibility in this critical initiative. He promised to continue implementing the country's national climate change strategy, the promotion of green development and low-carbon transformation. He also pledged to help in promoting the process of multilateral climate policy and building a community of life for people and nature.

China has already pledged to move from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality within a far shorter period of time than developed countries. The targets of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality have been added to China's overall plan for ecological conservation. Importantly, China is helping developing countries to build their capacity against climate change through various forms of results-oriented South-South cooperation, and to bring long-term benefits to the people under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The China-inspired United Nations' BRI International Green Development Coalition is aimed at addressing the significant environmental challenges that come with such massive developments. This will ensure that BRI projects follow green development principles in order to safeguard pursuance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Popular wisdom says that charity begins at home. China has put in strategies, laws and policies to create a clear roadmap towards low carbon green growth. Indeed, China's renewable energy industry has become a major engine for the country's economic growth. For instance, China's focus on developing a national wind energy industry and market pushed the country to become a world leader in wind turbines, which led to the emergence of hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

In September 2020, China announced that it plans to peak its carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The 2030 Carbon Peak Reduction Action Plan targets broad sectors of the economy, including polluting extractive industries, transportation and household waste, and outlines measures to phase out carbon emissions, transition to renewable energy, and waste reduction.

The import of the foregoing scenario is that China's success will have a ripple effect globally. The country's increasing innovations in renewable technologies across a wide array of economic sectors will benefit both developed and developing countries. 

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