The Environment: A Disaster, RMB10 Billion & A Blacklist

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US Treasury Secretary Paulsen seeks common ground in the form of the environment on his latest China trip. While that might usefully take discussions away from the RMB (and the latest Senate bill) it also comes at a time when the environment in China is again hitting the headlines (The Star):

    “Residues from a local lead-zinc mine polluted the Zijiang river in Hunan province on Thursday, cutting water supplies to a riverside city, Lengshuijiang, and the downstream county with a combined population of 200,000, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

    It said 30,000 cubic meters (39,238 cubic yards) of lead-zinc residue were washed into the river after a culvert under a tailings dam at the private Zhongtai Mining Corp. collapsed.”

This is just the latest such disaster to impact the environment (and the people). But on the positive side, actions are being taken. China is reported to be doubling its expenditure on environmental protection Taipei Times):

    “The government will spend an extra 10 billion yuan (US$1.33 billion) on reducing energy use and cutting pollution, a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission said.
    The move brings the annual total investment in the area to 21.3 billion yuan.

    Of the total, 9 billion yuan will be spent on energy efficiency and will target 10 “major energy saving projects,” the statement said without giving details.

    The state Xinhua news agency said late on Friday that the money would focus on making energy savings within government bodies, as well as pushing for more efficient use of oil and developing oil-replacement technologies.”

At the same time, polluting companies (which already suffer increased fines) are to be named and shamed (in addition to the ones noted here). The BBC reports:

    “As Beijing moves to take action on the country’s growing pollution problem, the 30 firms will be barred from receiving bank loans.

    The companies in question range from food processors to paper-makers and steel manufacturers.
    China’s emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants have soared on the back of its ongoing economic boom.
    It is not known whether the 30 targeted companies will be able to appeal to the State Environmental Protection Administration, or what changes they will need to make before they can be removed from the blacklist. “

Small steps in the right direction. But perhaps a more dramatic policy leap (and a higher cost for non-compliance) is likely to be needed.

See more recent environment articles here: Transparency And The Environment; Targeting The Environment; China the Biggest: Polluter

See news sources:

    In China, Paulson eyes debate shift to environment
    Boston Globe – United States
    Aiming to keep his strategic economic dialogue with China on track amid controversies over Chinese product and food safety and currency legislation gaining …

    Senate set to consider key China currency bill
    Forbes – NY,USA
    WASHINGTON (Thomson Financial) – A key committee in the US Senate is set to consider a bill later today that could lead to new trade sanctions against China …

    China to double spending on environmental actions
    Taipei Times – Taiwan
    China has announced plans to double spending on improving energy efficiency and slashing pollution in an effort to combat its dismal environmental record. …

    China sets up pollution blacklist
    BBC News – UK
    China’s emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants have soared on the back of its ongoing economic boom. It is not known whether the 30 targeted companies …

One Response to “The Environment: A Disaster, RMB10 Billion & A Blacklist”

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