Part of north China, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, has experienced continuous smog over the past week, illustrating the urgent need to tackle the challenge of air pollution.
In fact, the country has been actively protecting the environment and achieved positive results. China has achieved the goals of its three-year action plan released in 2018, as 87 percent of all days in 2020 across 337 major cities saw good air quality readings, up 5.8 percentage points from 2015, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Despite this success, the smog, which has hit parts of China several times since the beginning of this year, serves as a reminder that China has a long way to go in improving its natural environment.
According to China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), the energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be reduced by 13.5 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over the period. The country aims to expand forest coverage to 24.1 percent of China's total land area over the next five years.
The blueprint for the country's economic and social development shows the determination of the world's largest developing country to accelerate green development.
Green development is a path that China must travel to realize socialist modernization. A complete economic and societal shift to cleaner energy and lower polluting emissions conforms to the Chinese people's expectations for high-quality development.
As an important contributor to adopting the Paris Agreement and an active participant in its implementation, China is resolutely committed to tackling climate change. The country has vowed to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
China is still experiencing industrialization and urbanization and holds high expectations of economic growth. It faces far greater pressures and challenges than developed countries. The low-carbon commitment requires China to make the transition from reaching its carbon peak to realizing carbon neutrality within 30 years, compared with the 60 years taken by most developed countries.
The country is implementing stricter coal control measures, further developing non-fossil energy, improving the absorption capacity of photovoltaic, wind power and other new energy, and actively developing advanced technologies and industries such as hydrogen production from renewable energy.
A path to modernization featuring green development is the consensus choice of the Chinese people. It is a mission that must be accomplished.