MAC: Mines and Communities

China Fails to Make Progess on Environment - Report

Published by MAC on 2007-01-30

China Fails to Make Progess on Environment - Report

PlanetArk CHINA

30th January 2007

BEIJING - China has failed to make any progress in protecting the environment in the past three years, state media on Monday cited an official report as saying, despite government pledges to put the issue at the top of its agenda.

China ranked 100 out of 118 countries in terms of environmental protection in the China Modernisation Report 2007 -- the same level as in 2004, the China Daily newspaper said.

"Compared with its social and economic modernisation, China's ecological modernisation lags far behind," the paper quoted He Chuanqi, head of the research group that put together the report, as saying.

It was assembled by experts and academics from the Chinese Academy of Science, Ministry of Science and Technology and some of the country's top universities, the China Daily said.

Large swathes of China are affected by chronic air pollution from factories, vehicles and coal-burning power plants. Water and land pollution has poisoned many other parts of the country.

The "ecological modernisation" category measured indicators such as carbon emissions, sewage treatment and drinking water availability, the newspaper said.

"The government needs to ensure that economic development will not result in further environmental deterioration in the next 50 years," He said.

But the report said that by 2015, China's social and economic indicators should be on par with developed countries in the 1960s, by which stage China will have completed its transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial one.

China had done well at raising life expectancy, adult literacy and access to higher education, though work remained in other sectors, such as adjusting the proportion of the population living in the countryside. It did not elaborate.

To better address China's development problems, the report recommended the government set up three new bodies -- environmental and energy ministries and a regional development agency.

After years of promoting economic growth at almost any cost, Beijing is now struggling to change official attitudes, despite a raft of new policies including tying civil servants' career prospects to their energy-saving achievements.


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