Increasing pollution and demand for resources will threaten the country's economic growth, China's Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian has warned.
Zhou said environment protection should be a key plank of the new Five Year Plan, which will be discussed during the annual session of the National People's Congress.
Zhou posted his comments on the Ministry of Environmental Protection's website, a day after Premier Wen Jiabao announced a lowering of the annual economic growth target from 7.5 percent to 7 percent because of its impact on the environment.
He said China must become efficient in the utilization of its the resources, in order to increase the size of its economy without any damage to the environment.
According to the BBC, his statement is a call for shifting from the model of high input, increasing resources consumption and pollution to sustainable development, which aims to resolve the conflict between economic and social development and the environmental damage caused in past three decades.
According to Chinese scholars China's energy intensity per unit of GDP is at least five times that of Japan.
Social stability is also one factor as worsening air, water and soil pollution enrages more people.
Zhou wrote: "In China's thousands of years of civilization, the conflict between humanity and nature Zhou Shengxianhas never been as serious as it is today, the depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the deterioration of the environment have become serious bottlenecks constraining economic and social development."
He said that the issues related to pollution must be prioritized otherwise the country will continue to suffer.
He suggested that his ministry should take on a greater role in tackling greenhouse gas emissions and that new development projects be assessed for their impact on climate change.
He suggested that upcoming development projects must be assessed for their impact on climate and the ministry should take steps to tackle greenhouse gases.
China's development was prioritized over the environment, as a result China now has some of the most polluted skies and waterways in the world.
Presently China is the world's leading carbon dioxide emitter.