A couple of days ago, I posted “China – Enviormentalism as a National Security Issue“, which highlighted China’s growing pollution issue becoming more than just a purely enviormental issue, but also sparking domestic unrest and a potential source of conflict with its neighbouring states.
Last week’s Economist points to China’s attempt to address the issue of pollution by including the enviorment as one paremeter in assessing some of its civil servents and party leaders. Check out the article here: The Greening of China
AN ELABORATE points system that determines the careers of officials is often blamed for many of China’s problems. In their drive to meet targets for economic growth, local mandarins squander money, ride roughshod over citizens and ravish the environment. So now China is trying to devise and embed into its assessment of officials a way of calculating a “green GDP”—which allows for environmental costs in national accounts—to help mitigate some of these excesses.
President Hu Jintao first endorsed the idea in March 2004, in a speech about the need to foster a “scientific concept of development”, a slogan intended to suggest that in pursuing growth China should pay more heed to such issues as the environment and the depletion of natural resources. Last February, the government said that ten regions, including Beijing, were carrying out a pilot project in green GDP assessment.
While this is marked progress, China is attempting the impossible in trying to quanitfy the unquantifable: what is the financial cost incurred with the lost of some perculiar speices of tree frog, how you assess the financial cost of a lost forrest, etc. Such calculations would most likely end up being mired in bureaucratic squabbling.
Indeed, the Economist article itself ends in a rather sobering note:
China’s top leaders themselves may be getting cold feet. A draft of the national economic-development plan for the next five years, published this week, stresses the need for an “a resources-saving and environment-friendly society”. But it makes no mention of a green GDP.