Archive for ‘Sustainable development’


Interview: Belt and Road helps Latin America to achieve UN 2030 agenda, says ECLAC official

BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) — The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) facilitates the compliance with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America, said a senior official of a UN body based in Latin America.

Mario Cimoli, deputy executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the caribbean (ECLAC), made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua.

Also as chief of the division of production, productivity and management of ECLAC, Cimoli has arrived in Beijing to participate in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on April 25-27.

So far, 18 Latin American countries have signed the Memorandum of Understanding on jointly building the Belt and Road cooperation with China.

“The countries in Latin America view China as a fundamental actor,” he said. “The fact that 18 Latin American countries have joined the Belt and Road Initiative means that these countries think that China is necessary and China is also aware of the importance of dialogue. It’s a historical process.”

In his opinion, the BRI makes “greater integration, greater multilateralism and more dialogue” possible and “does good to Latin America.”

He said that both the 2030 Agenda and the BRI seek sustainable development and reduction of inequality and poverty, without contradicting with the proper model of each country.

“Given that the growth rates of Latin America will not be very high for the next few years, a rational process of cooperation such as the Belt and Road will surely help the region and allow each country to seek and improve their model of development and growth,” the ECLAC official said.

The BRI is a much more horizontal dialogue, a platform, in that sense that it is a process that helps and allows a much more positive coexistence despite current global tensions, he said.

In the dialogue with China, Latin America can demonstrate the importance of being an integrated area of trade, policies, and infrastructures in order to trade better with Asia, he said.

Cimoli also affirmed that the incorporation of new technologies in Latin America is a course under discussion, and dialogue with China can accelerate and improve the process.

Cimoli said his one observation of his ongoing China trip is the extensive use of electronic commerce among ordinary people.

He said when he went out to buy something, he found almost everyone use e-payments.

The way in which technologies immerge into the daily life of Chinese citizens is an example and would be a valuable contribution of China to the world and especially to Latin America, Cimoli said.

“The example of China shows the role that a state should play to trigger the technological development. In this dialogue with China, Latin America surely has to learn from the pragmatism of China,” he said.

The ECLAC official mentioned that China invests over 2 percent of its GDP in science and technology, while the average investment of Latin American countries in the field is between 0.4 and 0.5 percent of its GDP, plus, it appears to be swaying instead of stable state policies.

“There is a lot of cooperation to be done, much experience to be shared and much a platform for dialogue like the Belt and Road Initiative could do,” said Cimoli.

Source: Xinhua


* Ex-minister blames China’s pollution mess on lack of rule of law

SCMP: “China had a chance to avoid environmental disasters some 40 to 30 years ago, the country’s first environmental protection chief has lamented amid worsening air and water pollution.


But Professor Qu Geping, who has overseen environmental policymaking since the early 1970s, said pollution had run wild as a result of unchecked economic growth under a “rule of men”, as opposed to the rule of law. Their rule imposed no checks on power and allowed governments to ignore environmental protection laws and regulations.

“I would not call the past 40 years’ efforts of environmental protection a total failure,” he said. “But I have to admit that governments have done far from enough to rein in the wild pursuit of economic growth … and failed to avoid some of the worst pollution scenarios we, as policymakers, had predicted.”

Qu, 83, was China’s first environmental protection administrator between 1987 and 1993. He then headed the National People’s Congress environment and resource committee for 10 years.

After three decades of worsening industrial pollution resulting from rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, China has accumulated huge environmental debts that will have to be paid back, Qu said.

He said recently he regretted that some of the very forward-looking strategies – emphasising a more balanced and co-ordinated approach to development and conservation, that were worked out as early as 1983 – were never put into serious practice when China was still at an early stage of industrialisation.

In 1970, premier Zhou Enlai had invited a Japanese journalist to give a lecture to senior government officials on the lessons Japan had learned from a series of heavy metal pollution scandals that killed several hundred people during a period of rapid industrialisation in the 1950s and 1960s, Qu said.

“But looking back, China fell into the same trap again,” he said. “In some cases, the problems are even worse now given the country’s huge population and the vast scale of its economy.”

via Ex-minister blames China’s pollution mess on lack of rule of law | South China Morning Post.

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* How Cities Can Save China

We sincerely hope that the author is right and that the Chinese authorities both agree with him and decide to implement his suggestions – soon!

NY Times: “CHINA is experiencing its most severe economic downturn in decades, and revitalizing its economic model is critical to future prosperity — not only in China, but around the world.

Central to that effort is the transformation of China’s cities. By adopting a new approach to urbanization, its leaders can assure more balanced investment, address a major source of debt, achieve a consumption windfall and clean up the country’s environment. Otherwise, China’s economic and environmental problems will worsen, with vast implications for the rest of the world.

China’s success has been built on two pillars: investment and exports. But after decades of growth, this model is delivering diminishing returns. There is little doubt that China must change to a new model, one that relies on consumption to generate growth, while addressing debt and broadening the use of sustainable energy and environmental practices.

Cities, home to hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers, lie at the core of this problem — and offer a potential solution.

A flawed system of municipal finance is driving debt, corruption and dissent, while unsustainable urban planning has yielded polluted cities that are destroying China’s ecosystem. Yet China’s future requires continued urbanization, which, absent a new approach, will only make the problem worse.

Cities can, however, be part of the solution: better urban policies can put China on a healthier path forward, economically and environmentally.

For one thing, municipal financial reform is essential because debt is crushing Chinese cities, leaving mayors with no means of financing the central government’s policy mandates. Mayors have developed creative ways to raise revenues, including appropriating farmers’ land and seizing land on the outskirts of cities to sell to developers. But these practices contribute to urban sprawl and often feed corruption.

Among other changes, China’s cities need transparent budgets and the devolution of more tax authority to cities.

More innovative urban planning and design are also needed. To achieve the country’s goals of raising living standards for a broader share of the population, cities must be better designed to yield energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

China’s potential is stifled by traffic and pollution. Gazing out my hotel window in Beijing on a recent trip, I saw air that was hazy and polluted — a stark contrast to the sparkling view of Lake Michigan I enjoy from my kitchen window at home in Chicago.

This isn’t just China’s problem. Experts found that dirty air from China contributed up to 20 percent of the ground-level pollution on the American West Coast in 2010. And that is when just one-tenth of Chinese own cars. Imagine what China’s air quality will become when this number triples, as some experts predict it will within the next several years.

Take another example: construction. Within city centers are countless “superblocks” — half-kilometer-square developments interspersed with huge boulevards that create monster traffic jams and skyrocketing pollution.

In response, an approach that featured smaller blocks and mixed-use neighborhoods and accessible public transportation would alleviate these unintended consequences. Such “livable cities” would balance economic development with energy efficiency, improve air quality and reduce congestion.

Getting China’s urbanization right will matter to us all. Fortunately, many in China understand this, and cooperation with the United States government, corporate world and nonprofit sector, including my own research and advocacy institute, is bringing them the tools they need to prioritize design issues in their cities and adapt infrastructure plans now. These tools include instruction in sustainable practices for government leaders, public education in environmental issues and specialized training for the country’s urban planners.

China must adopt this new approach quickly, before vast infrastructure investment makes the current model irreversible. By 2025, China is projected to have a staggering 200 cities with populations over one million. America has just nine.

Global prosperity depends on China’s continuing to be an engine of growth. We all need China to reinvent its economic model. Working together on urbanization creates progress toward joint solutions to the challenges the world faces from overwhelming pressure on natural ecosystems, resources and commodities.

We need Chinese cities to succeed, and we can help ensure that they do so.”

via How Cities Can Save China –


* China’s ‘most polluted city’ breathes cleaner air

As Western organisations know, “what you don’t measure you cannot manage” and “incentives matter”. So China’s local authorities are beginning to realise, as evidenced at Linfen. Assuming this notion is being espoused across China, then it is very good news indeed for the environment.

China Daily: “Fan Lifen clearly recalls the days when her hometown was shrouded in darkness, with the sun barely visible through a thick curtain of smog.

“The situation would worsen in the winter, when households would burn coal for heating,” recalls Fan, a native of the city of Linfen in North China’s Shanxi province.

Rapid industrialization and urbanization in the past two decades have saddled cities like Linfen with heavy environmental burdens, damaging the health of local residents and fueling complaints.

However, Linfen is making efforts to turn its situation around.

“The air in Linfen has improved tremendously,” said Liu Dashan, spokesman for the Shanxi Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau.

The dramatic turnaround started when Linfen was listed as the “most polluted” among 113 major Chinese cities for three consecutive years from 2003 to 2005.

The local government has since launched a cleanup campaign, closing 1,056 factories and imposing stricter environmental standards on those that are still operating, according to Mayor Yue Puyu.

Substandard mines have been shut down and smaller ones have been merged into competitive mining conglomerates, Yue said.

Residents have been weaned off of coal burning, with natural gas heating introduced to more than 85 percent of the city’s households, said Yang Zhaofen, director of the city’s environmental protection bureau.

The changes were made possible by changing the way the performance of local officials is evaluated, with promotions and other rewards linked to their efforts to improve the city’s environment.

Officials have not only closed down heavily polluting factories, but also taken action to add “green” features to the city. A large park was opened on the banks of the Fenhe River last year, helping to absorb pollutants and purify the air.

Over the years, China’s economic growth has been fueled by over exploitation of natural resources, resulting in environment degradation. A worsening environment has prompted the government to exert greater efforts on environmental protection, replacing the practice of achieving growth at all costs.

President Hu Jintao said in a speech delivered to the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress on Thursday that China should “give high priority to making ecological progress” and “work hard to build a beautiful country and achieve lasting and sustainable development.”

Linfen is a part of Shanxi’s efforts to repair its environment. The province, which provides over 70 percent of China’s coal, is slowly turning toward sustainable development.

More than 3,000 mines have been shut down since reforms were initiated in 2008, according to Wang Hongying, chief of the institute of macroeconomics under the provincial development and reform commission.

In addition to consolidating coal mines, the province has also made changes to the coal tax and fostered substitute industries, Wang said.

“We have set an example for other provinces. Although difficulties may emerge in the future, reforms will continue and we have high hopes for them,” Wang said.”

via China’s ‘most polluted city’ breathes cleaner air |Society |

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* Dezhou, China’s solar city

China knows it is a major emitter of green gases and polluter. But it is also at the forefront of trying to minimize the effects without slowing down economic development. One example is Dezhou, a city not very far from Beijing.

Here is one image –

But if you want to get a proper impression go to –

Also read – – extracts below:

“Ask any six-year-old in a Chinese street, ‘What’s a solar water heater and what’s it for?’ Without hesitation they will tell you: ‘A solar water heater is on the roof of a building to make hot water for the shower’. This story is told by Hongzhi Cheng, vice secretary-general of the Beijing-based Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF) and head of The Sun’s Vision, a company based in the city of Dezhou in Shandong province.

Dezhou, one hour by car south of Beijing, has become one of China’s solar towns due to the presence of Himin Solar, one of the country’s largest solar water heater manufacturers. For a German visitor with an interest in solar thermal technology, driving in the city provides an exciting tour past scores of roof and facade installations.

From Retrofits to Central Systems

Dezhou is also a great city to see how the solar thermal industry is developing from retrofitted systems for individual households towards large-scale rooftop solar fields serving entire buildings.

Building-integrated Systems Take Off

The third generation of solar thermal technology in China consists of building-integrated systems. Himin Solar is blazing a trail with several demonstration projects in Dezhou’s ‘Solar Valley’.

Pressurised Balcony Systems

Each flat at these new developments also includes a vacuum tube collector installed in the facade and a 300-litre tank on the balcony to supply hot water. These solar systems represent a totally new generation of residential solar water usage in China. They are pressurised, indirect systems with u-pipe collectors, and a closed-loop solar circuit filled with glycol. If the facade collector fails to reach 60°C, the electric element in the tank compensates. Solar domestic hot water is therefore separate from the buildings’ central heating and cooling system.

Sales Double for Balcony Systems

Balcony systems are popular for multi-family buildings that lack roof space for a solar unit for each apartment. ‘We produced 60,000 tanks for balcony systems last year and we expect a doubling this year,’ says Jie Xu, Linuo Paradigma’s production manager.

China’s tall buildings seem to have no upper limit for solar thermal installations. The industry aims high and still has huge growth potential, says Hongzhi Cheng. ‘Only 30% of the market demand is fulfilled yet in the rural area. We expect the rural segment to grow [from around RMB100 billion ($15 billion) today] to RMB600 million.’ But he predicts even stronger growth of thousands of billions of renminbi for the large-scale solar thermal sector. European visitors will then be astonished by even more solar thermal installations on Chinese skylines.”

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* 5m greener vehicles on the Chinese streets by 2020

China Daily: “China has set a target of producing and selling 500,000 energy-efficient and alternative-energy vehicles a year by 2015, and five million vehicles by 2020.

The blueprint, announced by the State Council on Monday, has outlined generous subsidies to consumers and producers of the new generation of greener vehicles, as it aims to ease the country’s heavy dependence on imported oil, cut emissions, and speed up the restructuring of its automobile sector into a more environmentally sustainable model.

According to the details, there will be heavy government investment in the core technology needed to build a strong and globally competitive new-energy vehicle industry.

The short-term emphasis will be on developing pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, as well as wider usage of hybrid vehicles and energy-saving combustion engine automobiles.

The world’s largest auto market has set an accumulated production and sales target of 500,000 units of pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2015, and that will be increased tenfold to more than 5 million units by 2020.”

via 5m greener vehicles on the streets by 2020 |Economy |

Continuing on the path to a ‘greener’ China –


* Imagine if every resident of Mumbai had a car?

IT Decisions: “Professor Stéphane Garelli of IMD Business School and the University of Lausanne delivered one of the opening keynotes, describing the future of the world economy. One of the key points he made related to consumers in emerging economies creating ‘needs’ from what were previously ‘wants’.

“In China, everybody is buying a fridge. How many times have you bought a fridge? Once you have one then it lasts a long time before you replace it. You are living in a replacement economy where you are just upgrading what you already have. In China, you have no fridge, you want one. You have no TV set, you want one. You have no telephone, you want one…” he said.

The idea that enormous tranches of humanity are about to start consuming items they have never used before, such as cars, washing machines, fridges, and air conditioning, is a scary thought for environmental campaigners. Economic growth benefits those who are lifted from poverty, but how can the world really cope with billions of new drivers all expecting their own car?

Professor Garelli said: “The problem for the environment is that the infrastructure is not following [consumption].  For example in China, in 2020 they will buy 30m cars and only 15m will be sold in the USA. So everybody wants a car, but there are not enough roads for all of them. You need growth, you need traffic control, etc – the infrastructure has to grow in parallel.”

Professor Garelli went on to explain: “This means there is an enormous environmental impact and I think that this growth has to be checked. At a certain stage they will have to slow down some access. There are some countries where people can perhaps wait for a car – can you imagine if every single person in Mumbai has a car?”  …  “

via Imagine if every resident of Mumbai had a car? | IT Decisions.


* China Wants More Trade With Central and Eastern Europe

New York Times: “Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Thursday that China wanted to double trade with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to $100 billion a year by 2015, and pledged billions in loans to help promote investment in the region.

Mr. Wen made the announcement at a gathering in Warsaw that brought together business and political leaders of countries stretching from the Baltics to the Balkans that are eager to do business with China, even as they struggle to overcome stereotypes still held by many in the region who associate the Chinese as makers of inexpensive toys and designer knock-offs.

Infrastructure, high technology and green technology are target areas for growth, Mr. Wen said, announcing that Beijing would set up a $10 billion line of credit to support investment in these specific industries. He also pledged an additional $500 million in funds to be made available to Chinese companies seeking to make first-stage investment in the region.”

via China Wants More Trade With Central and Eastern Europe –

China continues to woo everyone. And Mr Wen is making himself very busy in his final year in office.

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* Wen paints Europe green in 4-nation trip

China Daily: “Trade and investment deals and business cooperation have been the focus of Premier Wen Jiabao’s tour to four European nations this week. Such fare is common for such visits, but

Wen Jiabao (温家宝), Chinese Premier

Wen Jiabao (温家宝), Chinese Premier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

there was a new ingredient in the latest trip: Wen and his delegation have been paying particular attention to green and innovative industries in almost every destination of the seven-day visit, which ends on April 29.

As China switches from high growth to sustainability in the current five-year plan and as the country’s foreign trade growth slows, politicians, businesses and industrial leaders from China and Europe are seeing more opportunities in each others markets. Before his scheduled arrival in Warsaw on April 27, Wen pressed for global action on sustainable development that strikes a balance between economic growth, social progress and environmental protection, instead of focusing exclusively on the environment, at the Stockholm+40 conference in Sweden.”

via Wen paints Europe green in 4-nation trip|News|

This relatively new theme of ‘sustainability’ goes along with strenuous efforts to reduce carbon and increase renewable energy sources. Good for China and good for the world.

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