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China will be 25% forest if green goals reached: report

China Daily, May 27, 2016 Adjust font size:

Almost one quarter of China will be covered with forest by 2020 if the country succeeds in its mission to build an "eco-civilization", according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme.

The report Green is Gold, released on Thursday at UNEP's headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, looks at the environmental dimension of China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).

China has already had a number of notable achievements, the UNEP report finds. By the end of 2014, China had built 10.5 billion square meters of energy-saving buildings in urban areas, which is roughly 38 percent of the total area of urban residential buildings.

Meanwhile, China's production of new-energy vehicles increased 45-fold between 2011 and 2015. The country also built the largest air-quality monitoring network in the developing world, with 338 Chinese cities at the prefectural level and above capable of monitoring six different air-quality indicators.

As part of China's 13th Five-Year Plan, the country has vowed that it will decrease water consumption by 23 percent, energy consumption by 15 percent and CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 18 percent by 2020.

China's forest coverage will reach more than 23 percent, and the share of days per year with good air quality in cities at the prefectural level will exceed 80 percent by 2020 if the country succeeds in building its "eco-civilization" – a resource-saving, environmentally friendly society that seeks to integrate ecological development with economic, social, cultural and political development.

"If China succeeds in achieving these targets, then it will have taken a major step towards shifting to a greener economy that uses resources more efficiently, limits the risks of climate change and improves the health of its people," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.