Stricter regulations required to reap benefits from china's green investmentsListen /
Despite China’s rapid advancement towards a green economy, the country is facing significant environmental and social challenges that must be addressed if it is to achieve its sustainable development goals.
That according to a joint report released this week by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The report, China’s Green Long March: A Study of Renewable Energy, Environmental Industry and Cement Sectors, confirms the country is a global leader in renewable energy technology investment. In 2012, alone, China’s renewable energy investment totalled US$ 67.7 billion – the highest in the world – and double the amount it invested in 2009. China has made significant investments in industrial energy efficiency, which resulted in a 19 percent reduction in energy intensity per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2006 and 2010."
However, the report warns, significant challenges remain: It notes China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases – accounting for 27 percent of the total emissions in 2012.
It also points out that local pollution, particularly to air and water, is putting a strain on China’s economic growth.
According to the report, it is estimated that 90 percent of the country’s urban water bodies are polluted, and outdoor pollution is estimated to contribute to 1.2 million premature deaths per year.
As China continues its urbanization, the report finds that the country should not only develop more energy efficient buildings, but also create greener supply chains that reduce waste generation, water and material consumption, and energy use.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.