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Saihanba National Forest Park, China"s largest man-made woodland, in Weichang Manchu and Mongolian autonomous county in Chengde, Hebei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

China will release by the end of the year regional rankings in the green development index, which will encourage local governments to give more attention to environmental protection in national economic development, the head of the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday.

The index is a system that evaluates economic performance taking account of various environmental indicators rather than merely the speed of growth.

Based on the index, the government will roll out new statistical methods to better promote high-quality growth, Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said during the annual conference of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

"China has switched from pursuing high-speed growth to aiming for high-quality growth, and local economic performance evaluation systems should be adjusted to better support China in achieving the new goals," Ning said.

The index, which was introduced late last year, measures economic development based on indicators such as total energy consumption, carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product and total water consumption.

Yang Weimin, deputy director of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, said China will not pursue sheer GDP growth in its economic development.

"The country does not have the conditions to pursue high-speed growth due to its consumption upgrading, reduction of the labor force and financial risks, as well as resource and environmental restraints," Yang said.

If we blindly pursue rapid growth, the risk entailed will be greater than the GDP growth, Yang said. The country has now adopted a development path focusing on addressing people"s concerns, instead of sheer GDP growth, he said.

The Communist Party of China has incorporated the "Beautiful China" ecological and environmental concepts into its two-stage development plan for building a great modern socialist country by the mid-21st century, according to the report General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress in October.

In addition to creating more material and cultural wealth to meet people"s ever-increasing needs for a better life, China must also provide more quality ecological goods to meet people"s ever-growing demands for a beautiful environment, the report said.

Han Xiaoping, chief information officer of China Energy Net Consulting, said many enterprises have increased their investment in upgrading their equipment to reduce polluting emissions, and the money is well-spent, since it significantly increased their energy efficiency, he said.

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