Mismatch? Time to focus on water
by China Water Risk 10 September, 2013
This month we look at the State Council’s new plan to grow the Energy Savings & Environmental Protection industry to RMB4.5 trillion by 2015. Mismatch #1: Many question whether the RMB4.5 trillion carrot has come with a big enough stick. If successful, the size of this Strategic Emerging Industry (SEI) is greater than the GDP of Switzerland but monitoring & enforcement, necessary to drive the industry, is less obvious. HSBC’s Climate Change Strategist Wai-Shin Chan thinks there are clear signals that monitoring & enforcement are “coming soon”. It certainly seems that way with Beijing leading the way, announcing plans for water a few days later calling for wider broadcasting of those named & shamed by the MEP as well as more public reporting through telephone hotlines & weibo. Mismatch #2: Water & Energy policy. With over half of China’s planned coal-fired plant expansion in water scarce regions, the World Resources Institute discusses how China must balance energy & water security. It is clear that water & energy people need to talk more – check out our three takeaways from the US-China water-energy roundtables hosted by the Wilson Center & Greenovation Hub in Beijing. At least the conversation has started. China is not alone; the world is also focused on water risk & management. At World Water Week (last week), the theme was “Water Cooperation-Building Partnerships”. Sustainalytics’ Loic Dujardin tells us why it’s time for companies to cooperate with communities. Bloomberg thinks so too: Francis Liu & Nathaniel Bullard share their views on why water data is crucial in the face of an increasingly water-insecure future. Just a quick glance at this month’s water headlines in China makes a good case to focus on water: Dead fish from excess ammonia, reports of arsenic contamination, ecosystem collapse, extreme weather; these all provide impetus to the new RMB4.5 trillion industry plus ample opportunities for corporates to work with communities suffering from toxic pollution, floods & droughts.
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