Here’s how China is going green

Rice Terraces System in Southern Mountainous and Hilly Areas, Longsheng Longji Terraces, China.

Agriculture Bureau of Longsheng. Rice Terraces System in Southern Mountainous and Hilly Areas, Longsheng Longji Terraces, China.

This article is brought to you based on the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sha Song, Specialist, Knowledge Networks and Sustainable Development, World Economic Forum Beijing

After years of heavy industrialization, China’s environmental challenges are nearing a tipping point.

The factories and power plants that have driven its economic growth have also polluted its air, water and soil, to the point where environmental hazards could lead to a significant risk to China’s society and economy, if not corrected in a timely manner. In a bid to tackle these challenges, China’s government has declared a “war on pollution” and introduced a number of green initiatives.

Here are the most important ones:

Less coal, cleaner air

China has taken steps to dismantle coal-fired power plants, reduce overall emission levels and cut particulate-matter emission rates. Huge progress has been made on air quality, and there are now fewer smog days in China’s largest cities.

Better regulation

The former Ministry for Environmental Protection has been transformed into the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), a new entity with broader, clearer responsibilities. The new ministry will oversee all water-related policies, for example, from ocean resources management to groundwater. Previously, these were scattered among different departments. The ministry is also in charge of policies on climate change.

Funding a greener future

China needs an estimated additional RMB 40.3 trillion ($6.4 trillion) to RMB 123.4 trillion ($19.4 trillion) to finance the transition to a greener economy. It has started collecting an environment tax to help fund its environmental policies, and is also trying to attract more green investment.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive global programme aimed at improving inter-connectivity between countries, inspired by the ancient Silk Road, seeks to boost trade and economic growth in Asia and beyond. As Vice Premier Liu He said at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this year, reducing pollution is one of China’s main strategic goals as it pursues this initiative, along with preventing major financial risks and alleviating poverty.

Years of life saved per person

Image: Image: China National Environmental Monitoring Center

The BRI will be backed by considerable resources. At maturity, investments in the initiative are expected to hit around $4 trillion, stemming from private sources, dedicated funds, and multilateral development banks. If aligned with sustainable development priorities, these resources have considerable potential to help advance the green agenda.

The next challenge is to improve green investment standards. Recently, China launched the Environmental Risk Management Initiative for China’s Overseas Investment. There is huge potential to “green” the Belt and Road Initiative, if Chinese financial institutions and enterprises improve the environmental risk management of their overseas investments and adopt responsible investment principles. Green bonds are a win-win for investors and developing countries, since they fund the green infrastructure projects that are so urgently needed by many of these countries.

Have you read?

Sustainable development zones

Earlier this year, the Chinese government approved three sustainable development zones, which will implement the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Shenzhen

Shenzhen is China’s innovation engine. This zone will integrate technologies in sewage treatment, waste utilization, ecological restoration, and artificial intelligence to solve issues from resource management to pollution.

  • Guilin

This zone will focus on innovations that tackle desertification, creating solutions that can be replicated by other regions facing the threat of encroaching deserts.

  • Taiyuan

Targeting air and water pollution, this zone will foster innovative solutions that can be replicated by regions relying on resource extraction.

Tech companies as green innovators

China’s technology giants play a vital role in sustainable development. Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba are among the world’s top 10 internet companies. Online technology – particularly e-commerce, internet banking and social media – is accelerating the pace of change.

For example, Ant Financial, a banking subsidiary of Alibaba, is a founding partner of the Green Digital Finance Alliance. This alliance aims to use digital technology to advance green finance.

Over 200 million of Ant’s users signed up to Ant Forest, an app that gamifies carbon footprint tracking. The app prompts users to cut greenhouse gas emissions in real life, demonstrating the massive potential of Fintech for supporting sustainable development. By the end of January 2017, the approach had saved 150,000 tonnes of CO2.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

EU Youth Goals – we are shapers not listeners

What are the greatest global health threats?

Ten UN peacekeepers killed in a terrorist attack in northern Mali

Brexit talks: 2nd round fails to bring the EU and the UK closer on key issues

Parliament condemns all forms of racism, hate and violence and calls for action

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

EU leaders prepare timetable and structure for EU budget negotiations

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

There are 3 barriers blocking good menstrual hygiene for all women. Here’s how we overcome them

How solar is powering the Middle East towards renewables

As many as 330,000 displaced by heavy fighting in south-west Syria – UN agency

Venezuela: European Parliament calls for additional sanctions

Adolescent health has been overlooked for too long

Gender equality: an issue much talked about but less acted upon

10 lessons from the COVID-19 frontline for a more gender-equal world

Central America: drought, resulting crop losses threaten food security of two million people, UN warns

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

EU budget deal struck with Parliament negotiators

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

Peru is building a new international airport near Machu Picchu – and archaeologists are worried

The experience economy is booming, but it must benefit everyone

Does upgrading our minds mean losing the spark of genius?

This Danish scheme is offering free kayak rides… for picking up trash

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

Privatization and public health: a question of Human Rights

Microplastics, microbeads and single-use plastics poisoning sea life and affecting humans, says UN Environment

Spring 2020 Economic Forecast: A deep and uneven recession, an uncertain recovery

Migration crisis will keep deteriorating as common EU political will is simply not there

An Eastern Wind

How secure is blockchain?

Coronavirus: EU funding for the transport of medical goods, medical teams and patients

These five exercise trends will help society and your health

Energy: EU priority projects should be aligned with 2050 climate objectives

Misinformation and growing distrust on vaccines, ‘dangerous as a disease’ says UNICEF chief

A record one million Syrians displaced over six months, during six key battles: UN investigators

Governments need to honour their climate pledges as risks grow

Libya: UN mobilized to support thousands uprooted by Tripoli clashes, renews call for humanitarian truce

Powering a climate-neutral economy: Commission sets out plans for the energy system of the future and clean hydrogen

Amazon indigenous groups want to create a nature sanctuary the size of Mexico

‘Transformational benefits’ of ending outdoor defecation: Why toilets matter

Righting a wrong: UN Fund helps thousands of sex abuse survivors rebuild their lives

It’s people, not technology, that will decide the future of work

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: The fruits of sustainability and decent work

4 reasons cities should embrace Universal Basic Income

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

EU’s social crisis and unemployment to deteriorate

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

Commission concludes that an Excessive Deficit Procedure is no longer warranted for Italy at this stage

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

India’s Largest Entrepreneurship Event is Back! (23-24th August 2016)

Why CFOs need to rethink what it means to create value

One small flight for a drone, one ‘big leap’ for global health

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

Women’s rights face global pushback from conservativism, fundamentalism – UN experts warn

How to accelerate digital literacy in the enterprise world

Is Eurozone heading for disinflation?

Why the evolution of blockchain reliability is critical to protecting your digital assets

More Stings?



  1. […] via Here’s how China is going green — The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on Eur… […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s