China’s “dual circulation” development pattern, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while domestic and foreign markets complement each other, should take a green and sustainable path, industry experts said on Tuesday.

Sha Zukang, a former United Nations undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, and honorary chairman of the International Green Economy Association, made the remarks at a green economy forum during the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing.

No matter the domestic market or the international market, green and sustainable development should be a priority, he said.

Li Yizhong, chairman of the China Federation of Industrial Economics, also a former minister at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said: “To ease the resource and environmental burden, the country’s economic growth should slow down to some extent. Economic growth must be built within the carrying capacity of the resources and environment, to form a virtuous circle of economic growth and resource protection.”

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed from 2001 to 2010, China’s average energy consumption growth rate to economic growth rate, or the elasticity coefficient of energy consumption, was 0.96. From 2011 to 2020, the figure dropped to 0.52, marking the country’s progress made in energy conservation and emission reduction.

Li noted China should continue to adjust its energy consumption structure by lowering coal consumption and increasing non-fossil fuel consumption. Industrial structure should be prioritized, and green, healthy, safe products should be produced.

“We should enhance international cooperation in climate change, energy safety, ecological protection, and disaster prevention and mitigation. In addition, environmental protection laws and regulations should be improved and strictly implemented,” he said.

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