China marches towards "green economy"

Updated: 2011-05-19 14:37
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STOCKHOLM -- That China is talking about developing "green economy" is a move in the right direction, said former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland in an exclusive interview with Xinhua during the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability being held in Stockholm on Wednesday.

She said China is one of the good examples in the world to try to transform the development path into a more sustainable path.

"I think the leadership in China know that the pattern of development in China cannot be coal-based, oil-based, transport- based in private cars, so they talk about green economy, because they know they have different energy resources, they have to use solar and they are entering into changing all these technologies and implementing them," Brundtland said.

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"Why? Because they know it is not only good for China, for its own people, it is also good for the rest of the world, and it is the only way we can move ahead," Brundtland said.

Brundtland is not only famous for being the Prime Minister for three times, but also for being the chair of the World Commission on Environment Development from 1983 to 1987. "Our Common Future", a report published by the Brundtland Commission, popularized the concept of sustainable development that has spread all over the world.

Sustainable development seeks to meet the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability to meet those of the future, the report explained.

"The report we made in 1987 had the right analysis, it was built on input from scientists across the world, also on public hearings in every continent. So it really captured the problems," Brundtland recalled.

"We explained where the world was going and what we needed to do," said Brundtland who is attending the symposium as a member of the UN High Level Panel on Global Sustainability.

"Over the past 24 years many things have happened. Different nations have tried to change the pattern of production and pattern of consumption to avoid the worst scenario that we could have," Brundtland said.

"However, overall what we have described as dangerous trends is still there, we are now seeing the consequences of global boundaries. I mean we have crossed the boundaries, there is water scarcity, desertification, deforestation, many of the things we warned against and told what are going to bring us down are now happening," Brundtland commented.

She complaint the world leaders are too slow to take concrete actions.

"The degree of consensus about who does what and why and when has not been quick enough, you know, we have been too slow and meanwhile, the world is getting more and more into trouble," she explained.

"We are reaching what I called planetary boundaries, the planet cannot tackle the total number of the people, and what we are doing on the earth," she said.

"The things we are making, consuming, emitting, chemicals, changing the atmosphere, over-using the fossil fuels, all of these lead to the planet not being able to absorb and recreate the resources. So we have already met these several boundaries and we must act, which is why this is urgent," she explained.

"I think developing countries can still continue economic development but the pattern of development cannot be the pattern of the development we have had," she warned.

She said the Western way of development is not environmentally sustainable.

"We cannot continue to have more and more cars with more and more pollution, and a transportation system that is breaking down with traffic jams, health consequences in addition to CO2, and the other damage that comes from the use of energy in more and more cars, fossil fuels, so new technologies are necessary," she pointed out.

"The rich world has to change the pattern, the newly emerging economies cannot do what we did because the world will suffocate under the pressure," she said.

She said China's goal towards green economy is in the right direction because the Chinese leaders are aware of the problems.

She also thinks that China's population control not only contributes to China's economic development and well-being but also made contributions to the whole world.

"Otherwise, the world population scenario will be even worse," she said.

"So in many countries there should be more family planning, more reproductive services, for women because if women have education and can choose they would just have two or three children, but not five or six because they know they do not need to have a child every year," Brundtland said.