By Xiaohua Li

Premier Li Keqiang has vowed in his government work report on March 5 that sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions will be cut in 2019 by 3 percent, and that there will be a continuous decline in PM2.5 density in key areas. The government also vows to accelerate the pace of forestation, and to plant 6.67 million hectares of trees each year so as to increase its forest coverage rate to 26 percent by the year 2035.

As one of the people who applaud China’s anti-pollution efforts, Michael Greenstone, the University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and director of the Energy Policy Institute, said, “It took about a dozen years and a recession for the United States to achieve the same percentage reduction in particulate pollution that China has achieved in such a short time.”

Despite this praise, China needs to strike a delicate balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability as it sets its lower yet still robust economic growth target at 6.0 to 6.5 percent. This will not only benefit China but the world as a whole

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