BEIJING, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- In a white paper on economic development, Beijing said one of its main focal points was gaining ground in an environmentally friendly way.
Beijing issued a developmental white paper that outlines the approach to development under the guidance of the Communist Party of China.
"China is committed to the concept of environment-friendly development and strives to expedite the country's ecological progress to deliver a more livable and beautiful environment for the people," it read. "It aims to make a good eco-environment a focal point for improving people's living standards, and create sustainable development that benefits all the people."
The paper states that China has been at the forefront of the effort to infuse environmental protection with state policy, becoming the first country in the world to offer a sustainable development strategy in the 1990s.
China has issued a series of so-called red alerts, the highest level of the country's air-pollution response system, since introducing the metric in 2013. The red alert restricts vehicle, factory and construction activity. Air pollution in parts of the capital has been reported at levels nearly 40 times higher than limits recommended by the World Health Organization.
Coal-based heating and industrial activity in Beijing are key contributors to the air pollution. A five-year plan introduced in early 2016 called for stricter rules on energy conservation and a stronger focus on industries associated with environmental protection.
"Air pollution control is making steady progress," the white paper read. "The proportion of coal consumption in total energy provision is decreasing year by year, while the contribution of hydropower, wind power, nuclear power, natural gas and other types of clean energy is increasing."
A joint statement signed in Washington said both sides are committed to working bilaterally with other counties to help advance their climate initiatives.
"China has made significant efforts in moving the Paris agreement on greenhouse gas emissions mitigation toward adoption and taking effect, making it one of the fastest major international agreements ever to enter into force and further contributing to the world's sustainable development," the Chinese government said.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump suggested he'd pull the country out of the Paris agreement when he takes office in January.