National Working Conference on Environmental Protection held in Beijing
The thirteenth Five-Year Plan period is a decisive stage for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society and achieving the first centennial goal, stated Chen. This presents an important and strategic opportunity for us to do great deeds in environmental protection and is a crucial period to march forward under a heavy weight. It is not only an open window and transitional period but also a tough period for the overall improvement of environmental quality. In an effort to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society, we need to quicken the pace to pad the short slab of ecological environment. It is an extremely arduous task to deepen the reform on eco-environmental protection in all fronts. There are tough and complicated tasks for further advancing environmental governance and improvement, and as we’re entering a period with high environmental risks, it is difficult for us to observe the bottom line of safety. The area-wide environment is on a diversifying trend, which implicates higher requirements for making overall considerations and coordination on a large scale. However, opportunities follow challenges as a shadow follows a form, and driving force coexists with stress. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council highly value the ecological progress and environmental protection. China is changing from pursuing higher growth rate to accelerating the transformation of economic development pattern and from rapid expansion of scales to better quality and benefits from development. To deepen reforms in all respects and run the country by law has brought policy benefits and benefits from governance by law, green development has unleashed technical benefits, the ecological awareness of the public has increasingly enhanced, the whole society has made gradual efforts to protect the ecological environment, and ecological civilization has become one of the important notions and action guide for global development. All these have created good conditions for making new headways for promoting ecological progress and protecting the environment, and we will embrace greater, faster, and better development of environmental protection undertaking in the 13th Five-Year Plan period.

Chen stressed that facing the new circumstances, new challenges, and new missions, we must be clearly-minded, firmly-willed, and accurately positioned, hold closely onto the core of improving eco-environmental quality, put up a good and tough fight for padding the short slab of environmental protection, straighten out the general train of thoughts, do not deviate from the direction we head for, change the approaches and methodologies, and make full-throttled efforts to enhance the environmental governance level. We must focus on the core of environmental improvement, adhere to green development, and introduce the toughest environmental protection system. Also, we must enable the environmental management to be more systematic, science-based, law-governed, delicate, and IT-based, continuously improve our qualities and capabilities, improve our work style, and build up a team of protectors of environment who are loyal, honest, responsible, and with strong political sense, high professional level, bravery, and good styles.

Since the start of the 12th Five-Year Plan period, under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, all branches of environmental protection across the nation have identified environmental protection as one of the important tools to transform the development patterns and adjust economic structure, one of the key missions to bring benefits to the people and advance harmony, and one of the fundamental measures to promote ecological progress, in an effort to address prominent environmental problems and make headways with environmental improvement. We have declared war against pollution, established the largest air quality monitoring network in developing countries, and completed the first national survey on soil pollution. We have facilitated pollution reduction. Specifically, the municipal wastewater treatment capacity increased by 48 mil. t/day, adding the total capacity up to 175 mil. t; the percentage of the installed capacity of de-SOx and de-NOx units in the total installed capacity of thermal power generating units has gone from 82.6% and 12.7% in 2010 to 96% and 87%; 84 mil. kW worth coal-fired power generating units have been upgraded for ultralow emissions, which accounted for 1/10 of the total installed capacity of coal-fired power generating units; over 81 mil. kW worth coal-fired power generating units were undergoing such upgrading, taking the coal consumption level of power plants to the world advanced level; the targets to reduce the four main pollutants have been accomplished in advance, and the acid rain coverage has returned to the level in the 1990s. We’ve insisted on optimizing economic development by protecting the environment, promulgated 493 pieces of national environmental standards, and introduced tougher and specific emission limits to key industries in key regions. We’ve promoted ecological progress and conducted integrated rural environment management, built up 2,729 nature reserves, and carried out demonstration projects on integrated rural environment management in 23 provinces (regions and municipalities), helping 70,000 villages with environmental management which benefited over 100 mil. rural populations. We’ve enhanced the risk control in key sectors, supported key areas to control heavy metal contamination, and disposed all of the chromium residues left untreated for decades. We’ve worked with multiple departments to launch thematic environmental treatment campaigns, established a coordination and cooperation mechanism between administrative enforcement and criminal enforcement, and made great headways with environmental justice. As a result, we’ve seen early successes in creating an environment for environmental compliance.
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