The Straits Times reports that Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said today at the International Energy Week conference China’s “green movement” is showing signs of stirring, but this is only the start.
The problem the world faces, he said, is that ‘China and India want to achieve what they think they have missed in life – the quality and standards of living which Japan, Europe and especially the Americans have reached’.
He believed some Chinese are realising that economic growth should not come at the expense of environmental degradation, though he was doubtful they could reach the same sensitivity to the environment as the Europeans within the next 10 or 20 years.
Nevertheless, China’s plan to build an ‘eco-city’ with Singapore’s help in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin will have an impact, as will the cleaner air experienced by Beijing residents during the Olympic Games in Aug when numerous polluting factories were shut down and cars taken off the road.
However, the development of eco-cities in China has not been easy. Follow the eco-city tag in CDT to other related stories.
As China becomes more eco-conscious, more opportunities are opening up for green investment. Professor Chang Miao discusses the concept of green/environmental investment in her interview with China Daily:
Q: What has the government done with its environmental investment?
A: Environmental investment is a vast concept, including investment in industry pollution, urban environmental infrastructure construction and operation, ecological conservation, environment technology development, and environmental management, and each field has its own projects to deal with.
[…] So far in the 11th Five-Year Program period (2006-2010), the government has poured 50 percent of those funds into infrastructure, and 40 percent for industry pollution, and social funds are also encouraged.
[…] The huge environmental investment is also promoting the growth of an environmental industry. It is great socially beneficial capital, which has been invested to the environmental industry these last few years, including the foreign capital.
Q: In China’s 11th Five-Year Plan, it has been regulated that at least 70 percent of sewage and 60 percent of household garbage should be effectively treated in the cities by 2010. This has created a huge market for the environmental protection industry. What are your perspectives for this market?
A: Yes, the aim will bring a huge market for the industry. China’s President Hu Jintao made a very strong statement about environmental protection in the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. So I think there will be a huge market even after 2010.
But as development is happening so fast, I have doubts about quality. Sometimes, the quality of the infrastructure, or the quality of the technology, is quite poor. It might be better than before, but it is still not the best possible. Because lots of people are only starting their businesses, they have limited knowledge about that industry.
I think this will last about three to five years, at least to 2010. After that, the market will go back to quality, which means, without quality, it cannot last. All those companies without a good quality standard will disappear by then, and only dedicated companies will stay.