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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

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

As rural communities age, their public transport is shrinking. It’s time to fix this

Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

Women vital for ‘new paradigm’ in Africa’s Sahel region, Security Council hears

Transition between education and employment: how the internship culture is threatening the foundations of our education

Talent is worldwide. Opportunity is not. How can we redistribute it?

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Confronting neo-mercantilism: why regulation is critical to global trade

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital and mobile technologies are helping to achieve an economic success in Spain”, the Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society Víctor Calvo-Sotelo reveals to the Sting at Mobile World Congress 2015

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

Towards a European Republic

OECD household income up 0.7% in first quarter of 2018, outpacing GDP growth

EU leaders agree on 2030 Climate and Energy Package: is “flexible” brave enough?

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Solutions for cultural understanding: medical students’ perspective

This is why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world

As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid

EU’s social crisis and unemployment to deteriorate

This is the world’s biggest mental health problem – and you might not have heard of it

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

Ebola: EU provides an additional €30 million to tackle the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

Commission: Do it like the Americans in the food sector

President Juncker temporarily transfers portfolio responsibilities following departure of two Members of the European Commission

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

rescEU assets mobilised to help Greece fight devastating forest fires

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

3 reasons why most Africans aren’t on the internet – and how to connect them

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more integrated Europe

25 years after population conference, women still face challenges to ‘well-being and human rights’, says UN chief

70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever

‘Huge’ stakes, ‘daunting’ job to tackle gender-based violence, UNICEF chief tells ground-breaking conference

South Africa still hasn’t won LGBTQ+ equality. Here are 5 reasons why

Commission launches two projects to support cooperation and innovation in Romanian regions and cities

3 ways to fight stress at work

EU Top Jobs summit ended with no agreement: welcome to Europe’s quicksand!

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

The good news on pensions: sustainable equals profitable

Women must be at ‘centre of peacekeeping decision-making’, UN chief tells Security Council

Leading Palestinian legislator calls for ‘new international engagement’ in two-state solution

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

Millennials aren’t voting – but these young leaders have a plan to change that

The role of students in a migration crisis in Roraima, Brazil

IPCC reports devastating climate consequences; US in denial while EU does not fully support the 2050 net zero emissions target

Spotlight Initiative – EU and UN fight against domestic violence in the Pacific region

Healing of ozone layer gives hope for climate action: UN report

End ‘shame, isolation and segregation’ of fistula sufferers, urges UN reproductive health chief

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

‘Rare but devastating’ tsunamis underscore need for better preparation, UN chief urges on World Day

Service and Sacrifice: Guinean peacekeepers make their mark in Mali

EU–US: What is the real exchange in a Free Trade Agreement?

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

To flourish in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to rethink these 3 things

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  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:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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