China’s Environment: Domestic Challenges and Regional Implications Stephanie B. Ohshita Assistant Professor, Dept. of Environmental Science University.
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Presentation on theme: "China’s Environment: Domestic Challenges and Regional Implications Stephanie B. Ohshita Assistant Professor, Dept. of Environmental Science University."— Presentation transcript:
China’s Environment: Domestic Challenges and Regional Implications Stephanie B. Ohshita Assistant Professor, Dept. of Environmental Science University of San Francisco Presentation to World Affairs Council of Northern California Study Group on Crises in Northeast Asia 26 July 2005
Key Points China’s environmental problems are grim. While neighbors feel the impacts, China itself suffers the most from its pollution. To solve the problems, need to understand the causes. A look at the “3Es” – energy, economy, and environment – offers insights. There are common interests – economic development, energy security, environmental protection – that can facilitate domestic action and international cooperation.
Environmental Impacts Image Source: Stephanie B. Ohshita, 1998.
Impacts: Air Pollution Nearly 30% of respiratory disease in China is attributed to air pollution. 500 major cities in China exceed safe air quality levels. Acid rain affects more than 30% of the country. Over 75% of China’s SO 2 pollution, acid rain, and CO 2 emissions come from coal combustion. Image Source: Stephanie B. Ohshita, 2005.
Impacts: Acid Rain Image Source: Centre for Environmentally Sound Technology Transfer.
Impacts: Water - Shortage and Pollution Image Sourcse: CNN. More than 100 of China's 660 cities face extreme water shortages. China supports 21% of the world's population with just 7% of its water supplies. Nearly 90% of China's cities and 75% of its lakes are impacted by water pollution. Coastal waters suffer from urban run-off, red tides, and biodiversity loss.
Impacts: 2/3 of China’s Forests Lost, Leading to Floods and Deserts Image Sources: The Guardian, BBC News, True Health.
Impacts: 25% of China’s Land Becoming Desert Image Sourcse: BBC News, New York Times, World Bank.
Regional Impacts: How Much Does China’s Pollution Affect Its Neighbors?
Causes of the Problems: The “3Es” Energy Environment Economy
Environmental Administration in China: Institutional Tensions National Peoples Congress, State Council NDRC (formerly SDPC) SEPA SETC (disbanded in 2003) (State Industrial Bureaus) (Provincial Industrial Bureaus and ETCs) Provincial Development Commissions Local Development Commissions Provincial EPBs Local EPBs (Local Industrial Bureaus and ETCs)
China 3Es: Interests and Trends Economic Development: Economic Growth, Industrial Modernization, Market Development Environment: Improve Water and Air Quality, Reduce Waste; SO 2 (not CO 2 ) of Main Concern Energy: Improve Efficiency and Reduce Pollution; Rely on Coal; Expand Electricity, Natural Gas, Renewables
Japan 3Es: Interests and Trends Economic Development: Recover From Economic Slump; Improve Financial Institutions Environment: Climate Change Prominent; Also Smog, Dioxin, Waste Energy: Diversify Supply; Conserve and Further Improve Efficiency; Promote Renewables
Common 3Es Interests in NE Asia Economic Development: Promote balanced growth through good trade relations, improved industry structure and economic efficiency Environment: Adopt strategies that address local and regional problems together, e.g., pollution prevention, energy efficiency Energy: Promote energy security through conservation, efficiency, renewables, diversification of oil supply
Cooperation Example: Energy Foundation (EF) - Policy Support for Industrial Energy Efficiency EF supports China’s Energy Efficiency Law by funding the development of industrial energy efficiency policies. If fully implemented, the law could reduce energy consumption - and related pollution - by 35% by 2020. Funding is directed to Chinese and int’l experts and targets policy makers, for maximum effectiveness.
Implications for Regional Cooperation Focus on cooperation, not conflict. With common interests in the region, environment/energy cooperation provides an opportunity for improving relations. Recognize and address the sources of environmental problems: energy, economy. Strengthen Chinese institutions for policy design and implementation.