Forest to Cover Nearly a Quarter of China by 2020: UNEP Report

By | May 31, 2016 08:49 AM EDT
China's eco-civilization blueprint to cover nearly a quarter of China's land with forests.

China's eco-civilization blueprint aims to cover nearly a quarter of China's land with forests.(Photo : Getty Images)

Nearly a quarter of China's land will be covered by forests if the country continues to push with its ecological civilization blueprint, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which was released last week.

The report entitled Green is cold: The strategy and actions of China's ecological civilization was initiated at the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. It is relatively a new concept to develop human civilization with respect for nature.

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"The outdated view that man can conquer nature and ignore the bearing capacity of resources and the environment should be completely abandoned," Zhu Guangyao, executive vice president of the Chinese Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association, said."Conscientious efforts should be made to live in harmony with nature, allowing for a new approach to modernization characterized by such co-existence."

The UNEP report assessed the environmental aspect of China's 13th five-year plan and revealed that the country's capital city Beijing is on track to achieve ecological renewal, Xinhua reported.

China also aims to chop down water use by 23 percent, energy by 15 percent, and carbon emissions per unit of GDP 18 percent. The country also plans to more than double prairie vegetation coverage, reclaim over half of the desert, and preserve at least 35 percent of the natural shorelines.

Forests play a key role in mitigating climate change as they serve as carbon sinks that help in cooling the biosphere and reversing global warming.

"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.

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