Greenpeace Report on Post-Olympics China

Greenpeace China produced the China after the Olympics: Lessons from Beijing report to glean lessons from China’s environmental measures before and during the Beijing Olympics. From the conclusion section:

Beijing’s tremendous efforts and investment in environmental initiatives for the 2008 Games have allowed many of the city’s bid commitments to be met. What is particularly unique about the 2008 Games is that they will leave an important environmental legacy for the city of Beijing in areas such as transportation infrastructure, energy efficiency, and in the development of renewable energy, water, and waste treatment capacities.

However, in other areas, such as forestry and water minimization, Beijing has missed a key opportunity to use the Games to initiate world’s best practice and policies for all venues. In 2008 and beyond, it is important to look at how these successes can be adopted by other cities throughout China as well as how missed opportunities of the Games can inform future environmental policies.

Perhaps the greatest problem in Beijing’s attempt at hosting aGreen Games is the limited engagement and minimal third party assessments of its environmental efforts. A lack of available independently verified data and limited ability for third parties such as NGOs to access information undermine the ability to evaluate Beijing’s environmental performance. More openness, transparency and efforts to engage civil society in decision making processes and environmental action could help to strengthen the development of green initiatives in the future.

In his reflection over the question “Are ‘carbon-neutral’ Olympics possible?,” Li Taige, an editor of chinadialogue.net, comments that setting China’s environmental legacy and trajectory is more meaningful and valuable in the long run than achieving “carbon neutrality” for the event.