China will cover nearly a quarter of the country in forest by 2020, according to an announcement made via a United Nations report. The goal is part of a larger plan to build an “ecological civilization” that will serve as a model for future projects around the world.
The report, entitled “Green is gold: The strategy and actions of China’s ecological civilization,” was launched at the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. The report, which analyzes the environmental dimension of China’s 13th five-year plan, also lists cutting water consumption by 23 percent, redenergy consumption by 15 percent and carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 18 percent among its goals.
“The outdated view that man can conquer nature and ignore the bearing capacity of resources and the environment should be completely abandoned,” said Zhu Guangyao, executive vice president of the Chinese Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association. “Conscientious efforts should be made to live in harmony with nature, allowing for a new approach to modernization characterized by such co-existence.”
In addition, the country will also step up efforts to restore 35 percent of the natural shorelines, reclaim more than half of the desert, and increase prairie vegetation coverage by 56 percent.
“If China succeeds in implementing targets outlined in its ecological blue print, then it will have taken a major step towards shifting to a greener economy,” Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director, said.
Image: Flickr, Susanne Nilsson