Clear The Air Energy Blog Rotating Header Image

Businesses Need To Join China’s Green Revolution

Oct 05, 2008 – SCMP

The mainland may be at the beginning of a transformation to a low-carbon economy. In reality, it does not have a choice. People may see little evidence of this at the moment when they stroll down the streets of major mainland cities. For example, Beijing’s infamous smog, which disappeared temporarily during the Olympics, soon returned. Temporary measures to improve air quality ended with the Paralympics and the old polluting ways have come back. But in the top echelon of government there is growing awareness of the environmental catastrophe that awaits the nation unless its turbocharged growth engine can change from high-carbon to low-carbon.

John Ashton, a senior British official on climate change policy, was in Hong Kong last week to talk about this change in mindset not only among mainland officials but among entrepreneurs. He also warns that Hong Kong investors may be missing out on the business potential. Mr Ashton said mainland businesses know they will eventually pay heavy penalities for polluting practices. So, for them, the issue becomes one of controlling business risks. As part of this trend, the Guangdong and Hong Kong governments are co-operating on the use of cleaner energy and have signed a deal to secure 20 years’ gas supply to encourage power companies to switch from coal to gas, Hong Kong’s environment secretary, Edward Yau Tang-wah, said yesterday. This is welcome, but the government and local businesses should promote environmentalism not only as a green cause, but as a business opportunity for green infrastructure and technology and for carbon trading.

On the mainland, it is not just a business issue. The political legitimacy of the central government and authorities in the rich provinces has rested on economic growth and the improvements it brings to people’s lives. That will be under threat unless officials can reverse the terrible environmental damage that has resulted. This is why Guangdong Communist Party chief Wang Yang harps on so much about low-carbon production as part of his “mind liberation” programme for cadres. It is time our city’s businesses joined China’s green revolution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>