Green Whirlwind Sweeps China

Asia Times writes about the possible upgrade of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) into a Ministry of Environment.

As if to boost its authority ahead of the anticipated upgrading, SEPA has been gearing up to launch one after another of what the Chinese media call “green whirlwinds”. So much so that the word “green” has become very fashionable in the country recently.

On February 25, SEPA unveiled a “green securities” policy. Pan Yue, vice director of SEPA, said the agency had issued a regulation stipulating that highly polluting companies must pass environmental inspections when applying for initial public offerings (IPO). Listed companies with high pollution emissions and energy are required to make environmental disclosures and pass environmental inspections for refinancing.

Along with numerous other “green” initiatives, SEPA shows signs that its authority is growing. Yet, the connection between the government and many potentially polluting companies makes SEPA’s effectiveness questionable, even as a Ministry of the Environment.

Therefore, whether the new environment authority can effectively exercise its function still largely depends on whether other government departments or provinces are willing to cooperate and coordinate. In the three “green” policies, for example, SEPA has the full support of the three financial regulators.

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