Skip to comments.China Draws Line in Sand to End Pollution for Good
Posted on 08/17/2006 2:18:05 AM PDT by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
BEIJING China will rigorously enforce limits on industrial pollution as it seeks to rein in rampant pollution and tame frenetic economic growth, the nation's top environment official said.
Zhou Shengxian, head of China's State Environmental Protection Administration, said government efforts to cut sulphur dioxide and other pollutants belching into China's hazy skies were failing, the China Environment News reported on Wednesday.
Breakneck economic expansion was instead overwhelming official goals to cut emissions and energy use, he said in a speech to officials on Tuesday.
"The central leadership is treating reductions in energy use and major pollutant emissions as two major hard targets -- red lines that can't be crossed," he was quoted as saying.
Zhou urged environmental officials to latch on to the ruling Communist Party leadership's determination to cool the economy in a fresh effort to cut pollution.
"The party central leadership and State Council are using reduction of major pollutants as an important means to promote coordinated, sustainable development," he said, referring to China's cabinet.
China has promised to clean its dirty skies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has made green development a key theme of his administration.
But Zhou said giddy investment in steel mills, cement plants, coal-fired power stations and other emissions-heavy industries was defeating pollution limits. He promised a campaign to vet planned projects, especially those with investment of 100 million yuan ($12.5 million) or more.
China has become the world's top emitter of acid rain-causing sulphur dioxide, with discharges rising 27 percent from 2000 to 2005, mostly from coal-burning power stations, SEPA officials said earlier this month.
Zhou said estimates from 17 Chinese provinces indicated that discharges grew another 5.8 percent last year.
"We must face up to the fact that in the first half of the year emissions of major pollutants nationwide didn't fall, but rose," Zhou said.
"Investment in some pollution-related industries accelerated," he added, noting investment in coal mining and processing grew 45.7 percent compared to the first half of last year.
But the government's determination to tame growth -- which hit 11.3 percent in the second quarter compared to the year-earlier period -- was an opportunity for environmental enforcers, Zhou said.
Wen has ordered local governments to establish accountability rules for implementing caps on sulphur dioxide and other pollutants, and demanded that local officials face inspections for pollution control, Zhou said.
"Implementing reduction goals for major pollutants is the key focus of our work in the second half of the year," he said, warning officials that they should not assume the government's five-year plan for reining in pollution gave them ample time. ($1=7.981 Yuan)
Either way, I tend to believe they can do it if they really put their minds to it.
To bad most of the technology they will import will be German and Japanese. The US is really quite far behind at least in terms of household goods. Of course, a lot of what the US uses is imported as well.
Efficiency really is the future.
Second comment: This story may be the opposite of reality because it is, in fact, coming from Reuters.
Oh, I wouldn't doubt the Chinese are *saying* they will do these things.
Whether anything substantive will actually change, is another thing altogether.
It will be honored more inthe breach then the observance.
Anyone who has been in China knows the pollution is abysmal.
Combination of ignorance and the need to make money with no restrictions.
A bit of an odd way of putting here at FR.
Communists always ruin their environment, but in this circumstance I am having a hard time pigeon-holing the ChiComs to give them a political label. I suppose ChiComs will have to do.
Reminds a bit too much of IngSoc from the book that gave me my tag line.
Here in Florida we have a river Called the steinhatchie. Decades ago the government gave the owners of a huge paper mill an exemption in regards to pollution. Over these decades the company has killed this river and the pollution is dumped into the Gulf of Mexico killing much of that body of water and causing red tide.
This occurs today and everyday even now.
This used to happen all over the U.S. and is now happening all over China.
Yeah, go and earn money but don't kill the environment.
This is something I think most conservatives firmly believe. Unfortunately the conservative politicians don't act like. Environmentalism used to be a conservative cause, with promotion of converative policies.
It has now given as a gift to the left which is a real shame as we begin to face increasingly more significant global environmental issues.
This is basically what I have been posting for a long time now, so we are in agreement.
I'll be fascinated to see how this actually works. Based on whose definition one chooses to use, pollution extends to everything related to human existence on earth and beyond.
Allow me to provide an example. Suppose that ALL human-related "pollution" were actually eliminated from China and the Chinese were forced to resort to the horse and buggy for their transportation and freight shipping needs. The problem they face is that horses still produce "pollution". They poop and they fart. Based on any given envirowacko's definition of pollution, horse poop can be considered a pollutant and farts emit methane gas (fineable if your a cattle farmer in New Zealand).
So, I generally scoff at the notion that China will end pollution once and for all. As the genteel among us might say, "It is to laugh".
I agree with that the conservative approach (which I think you are implying is relying or tweaking market forces) is also the consistently better alternative.
The environment tends to be a commons and therefore suffers from the trgedy of that commons. Placing a price on pollution generally only happens when people start to place a value on clean air, water, etc. over immediate economic growth. Companies just play by the rules they are given.
That much said, of course you have to have taxes on something in order to give breaks.
The Chinese are just starting to place restrictions on burdening the environment i.e. internalizing external costs.
You seem to be exaggerating a bit.
I never promoting "ending pollution" but rather increasing efficiency.
There are a limited number of resources on the planet - except human ingenuity.
The whole world cannot use resources in the manner the West currently does. There simply is not enough.
The world will also not simply let the West continue its lifestyle while they adopt a more modest one.
The only solution is for the West to modify its resources use patterns. This is an impossible scenario to imagine the West voluntarily reducing its resource consumption. Of course, the alternative is the overuse the resources capacity of the earth. Thus, it is the most impossible likelihood, except for the all of the others.
The nations that start first in efficiency will be the big winners. Ever notice that Germany is the world's leading exporter with 1/5 of the US population? What they export are their very efficient manufactured goods.
That philosophy will always veer liberal in the long run. People like myself can put a mostly private value on clean air. I say mostly because I benefit from 100,000 or so acres of national forest next to me. But I pay for it in spades with a 75 mile commute. Companies can move out there and hire me, offer me telecommuting options, or whatever else, but if they don't pay even 1/2 of what I'm getting now, I'm not going to consider switching. That's why economic growth is important, it gives me opportunities to save energy.
The other proof is that you in Europe and we in America have stopped our runup in energy usage and now it's the third world's turn to do so. If allowed to prosper they will be able to create the same efficiencies.
You didn't write anything with which I disagree.
However, there simply are not enough resources on the planet for 1-2 billion more people to run up their energy and then find efficienies later. If you don't want to talk about climate chage than how about fresh water, trees, and fish.
The reality is that there is a net loss of forests, the majority of our fisheries are at capacity or in decline, etc. etc.
I am not a "sky is falling" moonbat. I consistently advocate market/technology based solutions. But the scale of the problem and size of the investment needed, combined with pricing in of previously externatilized costs requires policy. Smart policy.
Can you explain how that is "liberal thinking"?
Liberal thinking is pretending that economic growth and prosperity can be created through central planning. If there is a little central planning (e.g. basic air quality protection), that is not going to necessarily lead to liberalism although even that bureaucracy will inevitably get crazy (e.g. formulas for gas that make people drive 20 miles extra to get it cheaper). The real liberal thinking comes from planning how people live, e.g. public transportation, mixed with promotion of politically favored projects like farm subsidies.
I didn't directly answer your question about the third world. My main answer is free trade to bring up their living standards. Our wealthy manufacturing work force has taken the brunt of this, while poor manufacturing workers have had a rapid increase in living standards. Wealth also seems to bring down birth rates.
Public transport, however, is a public good. It is also too expensive of an investment (at least when referring to subways and light rail) to generally be something a private company could do. There is also a measure of fairness involved. Or would you say that people living in rural areas should not have gotten electricity or telephones?
Farm subsidies are tricky. The most outrageous like cotton are a result of concentrated political power. Others have benefits to the public good, like a secure food supply or maintenance of the land.
To deny that there is such a thing as the public good is absurd or anarchist. The environment is a public good. Pricing SOX, NOX or CO2 is just a matter of internalizing previously external costs. The market then has to work to minimize those costs.
Water used to be free, until there were too many people. One used to be able to go out in the woods and hunt or fish as much as you wanted. When these goods became scarce they became regulated. It is a natural progression.
I agree that command and control are the things to avoid. For the government to say who, what and when something will happen rarely if ever works. For the government to make the (least amount of) rules deemed necessary and let the players figure out how to best play the game is common, conservative sense.
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