Ping He’s comments on China’s environment quoted on the US web-It‘s not all bad in China [6/9/2009]
Ping He’s comments on China’s environment quoted on the US web. Please check– http://ohmygov. com/blogs/ general_news/ archive/2009/ 07/09/it- s-not-all- bad-in-china. aspx
Today our search for innovative approaches to governing takes us to Communist China, where the government recently announced it will be considering environmental welfare when judging the performance of local governments. This means the powers that be in China will assess economic performance by a ratio of carbon emissions to GDP, instead of basing performance assessments on GDP alone.
The decision is expected to lead to government and private investments of $438.9 billion in low-emissions energy in the first stage of the move to energy alone. These technologies will most likely include nuclear, solar, wind, biomass power and clean coal technologies, although some environmentalists question the positive impacts that nuclear, biomass and clean coal energies are purported to have.
Announced by Premier Wen Jiabao in June, the push towards creating a greener China could come as early as 2011; the start of the central government’s 12th Five Year Plan.
For too long, lax regulations were used by China as a way fueling economic growth. The country gained a trade advantage over countries with stricter regulatory oversight. Having caught up with industrialized countries, however, China is now one of the world’s leading polluters. It is finally beginning to realize the hidden costs of wanton pollution – and it isn’t just global warming the Chinese are worried about.
More than a quarter of the estimated 2 million people killed by air pollution in the world every year are Chinese. Dirty water is estimated to kill just under another 100,000. One study blamed pollutants for the significant increase in birth defects from 2001 to 2006, years in which the Chinese economy grew at a breakneck pace. Now, it appears the Chinese government is finally getting serious about reducing its carbon footprint. Li Ganjie, vice minister of environmental protection, even went as far as saying that local officials who don’t meet emissions-to-GDP growth ratios will receive a pink slip – presumably served up on recycled paper.
“If we fire them when they fail in environmental protection and carbon reduction goals, our economy will see more sustainable development,” Ganjie claimed.
This no-nonsense attitude towards deficient local officials marks a significant change, according to Dr. Ping He, President of the International Fund for China’s Environment (IFCE). Dr. He said that the change indicates “a stronger push from the Central government,” and added that the new policy was “quite impressive.” China has worked towards environmental clean-up in the past, but officials who failed to meet goals were merely denied promotions.
Still, this has not deterred China from making progress. Dr. He said that not only do the Chinese expect to be on target for emissions reductions by 2010, but that China will be a world leader in some green technologies, including solar, wind and biomass.
This attitude, typical of many countries in Europe and Asia, has led some in Washington to worry that the U.S. is shooting itself in the foot when it comes to clean energy technology development.
“Clean energy is to this decade and the next what the Space Race was to the 1950s and ‘60s,” EPA head Lisa Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this week. “And America is behind.”
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