2019年11月5日,中国驻多伦多总领事韩涛在加拿大《多伦多星报》发表题为《绿水青山就是金山银山》的署名文章。全文如下:
 
今年是中华人民共和国成立70周年。70年来,中国发生了翻天覆地的变化,从一个积贫积弱的国家,成为世界第二大经济体。新中国成立之初,中国人均预期寿命为35岁,现在已达到77岁。改革开放40多年来,中国7亿多人口摆脱贫困,形成了4亿多人的世界最大规模中等收入群体。
  
上述成绩会经常被提及,但有一点可能不会被关注到,那就是中国在环境保护领域也取得了很大的进步。
  
我是1986年到北京工作的。那时的北京,几乎每年春季都有沙尘暴天气。严重的时候,黄沙遮天蔽日、白昼如夜,人们在街上行走经常要戴头巾或口罩。
  
北京的风沙问题历史很长,可追溯到13世纪的元朝。新中国成立后,中国政府下决心解决这一困扰北方居民数百年的环境问题。
  
1978年,中国政府决定实施“三北防护林”工程,通过大规模植树造林,将多个沙漠变为绿洲。
  
这一工程规划期限为73年(1978-2050),分八期进行,涉及13个省、551个县,占中国陆地总面积的42%。目前在建的是第五期工程。
  
40年来,中国政府累计完成造林面积3014.3万公顷,工程区森林覆盖率由1977年的5.05%提高到了2018年的13.57%。“三北防护林”工程被授予联合国森林战略规划优秀实践奖。
  
经过数十年的不懈努力,今天的北京,沙尘暴已成为往事。治理沙漠只是中国70年来在环保领域取得成就的一个缩影。
  
2017年11月,习近平主席在中国共产党第十九次全国代表大会上明确提出,要坚决打好防范化解重大风险、精准脱贫、污染防治三大攻坚战。2017年,中国环境污染治理投资总额为9539亿元,占同期国内生产总值的1.28%,比2001年增长7.2倍,年均增长14%。
  
中国还积极参与气候变化国际合作。2015年12月,在气候变化巴黎大会上,《联合国气候变化框架公约》196个缔约方通过《巴黎协定》这一历史性文件。中国不仅是达成协定的重要推动力量,也是坚定的履约国。
  
今年2月,美国国家航空航天局发布了一条推特,通过地球卫星图片的对比,显示20年来地球植被面积大幅增长,其中主要的贡献来自中国和印度。同月,《自然》杂志发表文章称,中国仅占全球植被总面积的6.6%,但过去20年全球植被面积净增长的25%来自中国。

中国愿与包括加拿大在内的世界各国深化在气候变化和环境保护领域的交流与合作,携手为全世界人民、为我们的下一代带来更多的绿地、碧水和蓝天。因为我们相信,绿水青山就是金山银山。
 
The Toronto Star Published an Article by Consul General Han Tao
 
On November 5th, 2019, the Toronto Star published a signed article by Consul General Han Tao titled "Green is golden". Here is the full text:
 
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Over the years, tremendous changes have taken place in China, from a poor and weak country, into the world's second largest economy, with average life expectancy rising from 35 to 77. Meanwhile, China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty, forging the world's largest middle-income population, over 400 million.
 
These achievements may often be mentioned, but what people may not notice is that China has also made great progress in environmental protection.
 
In 1986, I began my career in Beijing. At that time, Beijing suffered sandstorms almost every year in spring. In severe cases, the yellow sand blocked out the entire day-time sky, plunging the city into a night-scape. It was not possible to comfortably walk on the street without a headscarf or a gauze mask.
 
The history of sandstorms in Beijing can be traced back to the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century. After 1949, the Chinese government resolved to tackle the environmental problems that had plagued residents in northern China for hundreds of years.
 
In 1978, a decision was made to launch the Three-North Shelterbelt Program (TNSP), which aimed at converting multiple deserts into oasis through large-scale afforestation drives .
 
The TNSP has a timeline of 73 years (1978-2050) and an eight-phase plan, covering 13 provinces and 551 counties, accounting for 42% of China's total land area. It is currently in its fifth phase.
 
Over the past 40 years, the Chinese government has afforested a total area of 301,430 square kilometres within the TNSP region, its forest coverage has increased from 5.05% in 1977 to 13.57% in 2018. The TNSP won the award of Good Practice on Implementing the UN Strategic Plan for Forests.
 
After decades of relentless effort, sandstorms in Beijing are now a thing of the past. The campaign against desertification is just one example of China's achievements in environmental protection over the past 70 years.
 
At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November 2017, President Xi Jinping stressed the country's three major challenges. They are forestalling and defusing major risks, carrying out targeted poverty alleviation, and preventing and controlling pollution.
 
In 2017, China's total investment in environmental pollution control was 953.9 billion yuan (roughly 177-billion Canadian dollars), accounting for 1.28% of the GDP in the same period. This marked a 7.2 fold increase compared with 2001 and an average annual growth rate of 14%.
 
China also participates actively in international cooperation on climate change. In December 2015, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted a landmark document, the Paris Agreement. China was not only an important driving force for the agreement, but has also been one of its most compliant states.
 
In February of this year, NASA posted a set of images on Twitter that showed the significant increase in the earth's vegetation areas over the past 20 years. NASA's analysis indicated the main contributors were China and India. According to an article published on the Nature magazine in the same month, China alone accounted for 25% of the global net increase in leaf area with only 6.6% of global vegetated area.
 
China is ready to deepen exchanges and cooperation in the areas of climate change and environmental protection with all countries in the world, including Canada, so as to bring more green land, clear water and blue sky to the people of the world and to our next generation. As we believe lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. In other words, green is golden.
 
(The "Three-North" region refers to northwest, north and northeast China)