Chertow Lecture #2


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  • Chertow Lecture #2

    1. 1. China’s Environment: Issues and Obstacles Center for Industrial Ecology Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies 耶鲁大学森林与环境学院产业生态学中心 Prof. Marian Chertow Presentation to: Mandarin China – Yale Educational Travel October 2008
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>The Environmental Problem in Context </li></ul><ul><li>Specific Environmental Conditions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Doom and Gloom) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Government Responses </li></ul><ul><li>Special Edition: Three Gorges Dam </li></ul><ul><li>What Shall We Think About All of This? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Pan Yue, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection <ul><li>&quot;In just 30 years, China has made economic advances that took Western countries a century to accomplish,&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;It is equally true that environmental problems suffered by Western countries over those 100 years have been visited upon China within just three decades.&quot; </li></ul>C. Simon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 18, 2007
    4. 4. Rapid industrialization and economic growth also imposes great costs to society <ul><ul><li>Rising health care costs, rising water treatment costs, rising land costs for arable/habitable land often hidden but key factors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External costs of industrial activities can become large enough to divert resources from other activities that promote economic growth </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Just how much is China’s net growth? <ul><ul><li>Vaclav Smil has estimated that despite 8-10% annual growth figures, the economic costs of China’s ecosystem decline and environmental pollution equals ANNUALLY at least 10% of GDP. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecosystem damage costs China about 9% of GDP, according to the United Nations Development Program. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pan Yue, MEP vice minister, warned in 2005: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;The [economic] miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace.&quot; </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Some notable environmental progress… <ul><li>Beijing/other cities improved air quality </li></ul><ul><li>Some river water quality improved </li></ul><ul><li>More conservation areas </li></ul><ul><li>Major replanting in forests </li></ul><ul><li>More awareness, more regulation </li></ul><ul><li>More money to address the situation </li></ul>
    7. 7. 11 th Five Year Plan 2006-2010 <ul><li>The current plan contains major environmental goals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20% improvement in energy efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10% decreases in major pollutants. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>30% decrease in water consumption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>investment in environmental protection to have increased from 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent of GDP. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Air pollution <ul><li>According to China’s evaluation, two-thirds of the 338 cities for which air-quality data are available are considered polluted—2/3 of them moderately or severely so. </li></ul><ul><li>China has had 16 of top 20 cities with the worst air pollution </li></ul><ul><li>Acid rain falls on 30% of the country. </li></ul><ul><li>As much as 90 percent of China's sulfur dioxide emissions and 50 percent of its particulate emissions are the result of coal use. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Water quality <ul><li>Aquifers in 90% of Chinese cities are polluted </li></ul><ul><li>75% of rivers through urban areas are unfit for drinking or fishing, </li></ul><ul><li>30% of rivers unfit for use in agriculture or industry. </li></ul><ul><li>700 million people drink water contaminated with animal and human waste. </li></ul><ul><li>2/3 of rural people do not have piped water. </li></ul>Source: Economy, E. Foreign Affairs. Sept/Oct 2007
    10. 10. Water quantity <ul><li>2/3 of 656 cities suffer water shortages for domestic and industrial use </li></ul><ul><li>severe water scarcity in Northern China threatens sustained economic growth </li></ul><ul><li>large scale diversion of water from Yangtze River to northern cities, including Beijing and Tianjin, sinking from extraction of groundwater. </li></ul><ul><li>66% of water goes to agriculture which uses 10-20% more water than western counterparts </li></ul>Source: Economy, Elizabeth. Great Leap Backwards? Foreign Affairs. Sept/Oct 2007
    11. 11. Land and soil <ul><li>Soil erosion affects 19% of China’s land area, salinization on 9% of land </li></ul><ul><li>Desertification leads to the loss of about 5,800 square miles/year of grasslands, roughly the size of Connecticut, with dust causing 1/3 of China's air pollution. </li></ul><ul><li>Deforestation a major cause of soil erosion and flooding with 4x increase in sandstorms since 1990. </li></ul><ul><li>As much as ten percent of China's farmland is believed to be polluted, and every year 12 million tons of grain are contaminated with heavy metals absorbed from the soil. </li></ul><ul><li>Sediment discharge on Yangtze River </li></ul><ul><ul><li>greater than the combined discharges of the Nile and the Amazon – 2 longest rivers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shortened navigable channels 56% between 1949-1990 </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Coal dominates China’s energy mix <ul><ul><li>Coal use in China is about 65% of total primary energy requirement. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>While coal’s share is down from 10 years ago, total coal use is still on the rise. </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Proved coal reserves - end 2004 Source: BP
    14. 14. Climate change (global warming) <ul><li>Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) concentration is the big driver of climate change with burning of fossil fuels single largest variable </li></ul><ul><li>Annual average air temperature has increased by 0.5-0.8°C over the last century with most in the last 50 years. </li></ul><ul><li>With reliance on coal, China has surpassed the U.S. in total carbon emissions and unlikely to shift from dependence on coal </li></ul><ul><li>Geography and climatic conditions of China already give rise to frequent extreme events </li></ul>Source: Economy, Elizabeth. Great Leap Backwards? Foreign Affairs. Sept/Oct 2007
    15. 15. Climate change (global warming) <ul><li>How China will be affected: </li></ul><ul><li>30% drop in precipitation in seven major river regions, </li></ul><ul><li>37% decline in wheat, rice, and corn yields after 2050, </li></ul><ul><li>Yangtze and Yellow rivers could overflow from melting glaciers from Tibet and then dry up, </li></ul><ul><li>Coastal cities include 3 of the 4 largest in China and are threatened by sea level rising an average of 2.5 mm annually over the last 50 years . </li></ul>Source: Economy, Elizabeth. Great Leap Backwards? Foreign Affairs. Sept/Oct 2007
    16. 16. Source: Liu, J. and Diamond, J. (2008). Revolutionizing China’s environmental protection. Science, Vol. 413, 37-38 CO 2 emissions are rising in step with growing GDP
    17. 17. Source: Liu, J. and Diamond, J. (2005). China’s environment in a globalizing world. Nature, Vol.435, 1175-1186 Transportation in China: highways, planes, and automobiles
    18. 18. China and International Fuel Efficiency Standards National Geographic website 2008
    19. 19. Health and the public <ul><li>Premature deaths due to respiratory disease related to air pollution 750,000/yr </li></ul><ul><li>190 million sick from drinking contaminated water </li></ul><ul><li>19% rise in cancer rates in urban areas, 23% in rural areas since 2005 </li></ul>Source: Economy, Elizabeth. Foreign Affairs. Sept/Oct 2007
    20. 20. Trends in Environmental Governance <ul><li>In general, the Chinese environmental state has been changing along three parallel lines: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>modernising the existing environmental regulatory networks; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>decentralising environmental policy and strengthening the environmental capacity at all levels; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>involving non-state actors and institutions in pollution control. </li></ul></ul>Shi Han 2005
    21. 21. Chronology <ul><li>1 st impetus to add environmental protection within the Chinese govt was preparations for the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) </li></ul><ul><li>8 th Five Year Plan in 1991 lists environmental protection among the “major tasks and important targets for the following 5-10 years.” </li></ul><ul><li>1996 – turning point – 4 th National Conference on Environmental Protection </li></ul><ul><li>2000 – adoption of 10 th Five Year Plan for Social and Economic Development has specific Five-Year Plan for Environmental Protection, concrete objectives and numerical targets. </li></ul>
    22. 22. March 2008 – SEPA becomes a Ministry! With a Minister! <ul><li>China established five new super ministries , one of which is the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) launched July 1, 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Previously, prevention and monitoring of pollution was spread over multiple governmental departments – consolidated: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water and industrial pollution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Management of biodiversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approval and assessment of national ecology projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nuclear safety </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Distribution of powers <ul><li>National level </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental and Resources Protection Committee (ERPC) of the National People’s Congress (NPC) responsible for developing, reviewing and enacting environmental laws </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National level Ministry of Environmental Protection </li></ul><ul><li>Provincial Environmental Protection Bureaus (EPBs) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Part of provincial administration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National govt - limited direct influence–guidance on implementation of policies/regs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prefecture/municipal EPB – dual reporting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reports to local Mayor’s office </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reports to provincial EPB </li></ul></ul><ul><li>County/district EPB – dual reporting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reports to local Office of County Magistrate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reports to prefecture/municipal EPB </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. 3 types Source: Ma and Ortolano, 2000 3 at same level
    25. 25. Effects of this distribution <ul><li>The organizational structure of environmental administration at the local level is very susceptible to interference by local leaders due to the “horizontal-vertical” problem (tiao-tiao/kuai-kuai ). </li></ul><ul><li>This stems from the situation where lower-level EPBs report to higher level EPBs (and ultimately to MEP), but the funding and supervisory functions are provided by the provincial or lower level administration of the local governments. </li></ul><ul><li>Local governments often differ from national on the balance between environment and development, esp. in cases where the local government may be the whole or part-owner of a polluting enterprise </li></ul>
    26. 26. Public Disclosure – Internal and External <ul><li>Weekly and daily reports on ambient air quality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>China Environmental News release reports for 46 cities every Saturday </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also publishes Key air quality indices on the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>May 2002 saw a million text messages protesting </li></ul><ul><li>a chemical plant in Xiamen City forces the city government to stop construction of greater than </li></ul><ul><li>$1 billion in investment </li></ul><ul><li>51,000 pollution-related protests in 2005. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Critiques and Culture <ul><li>  ambiguity in legal requirements and lack of clearly defined rights and responsibilities of different parties; </li></ul><ul><li>non-transparent enforcement system based on negotiations and bargaining outside the court system; </li></ul><ul><li>limited involvement of courts in addressing conflicts and penalising non-compliance </li></ul><ul><li>greater role for civil society in environmental decision-making </li></ul>
    28. 31. Why Three Gorges Dam? <ul><li>Flood control (unofficial tallies claim > 3 million killed in floods) </li></ul><ul><li>Generate 18,200 MW (equal to 50 million tons of coal) </li></ul><ul><li>Ease navigation on otherwise treacherous upstream waters </li></ul>Source: Stone, Richard (2008). Science. Vol. 21-5889, p 628-632
    29. 32. Why Not Three Gorges? <ul><li>Species extinction (river dolphin, baijin and Chinese paddlefish) </li></ul><ul><li>Fragmented habitats in a biodiversity hotspot </li></ul><ul><li>Water impoundment heightens risk of landslides in risk-prone country </li></ul><ul><li>Strain on seismic faults </li></ul><ul><li>1.3 million people uprooted, villages submerged, millions more could be affected </li></ul><ul><li>Silt built up behind the dam that leads to decreased efficiency of electricity production and contributing to saltwater intrusion downstream </li></ul>Source: Stone, Richard (2008). Science. Vol. 21-5889, p 628-632
    30. 33. Second to Last Words – Elizabeth Economy <ul><li>Still too much emphasis on GDP growth in job promotion so national government mandates to decrease pollution remain secondary. N eed strong central leadership and revised system of incentives. </li></ul><ul><li>The need for reform: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Effective environmental governance requires transparency, accountability, and an independent legal system. A larger political reform is required to make all the changes necessary. “ </li></ul></ul>
    31. 34. Last Words <ul><li>The race between environment and economy is complicated by current trends: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projected energy increases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Automobile purchases and associated land use changes such as parking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decreases in household size and increases in wealth associated with consumption. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The long timeframes involved in cleansing water bodies and improving soil. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other deep effects of China’s environmental condition: threats to public health, social stability, and China’s reputation in the world. </li></ul>