Surefooted Goat or Sacrificial Lamb?
by China Water Risk 10 February, 2015
The regulatory landscape in China has changed due to multiple polices set & changes in the law in previous years. Many come into full effect this year… so in the coming Year of the Goat, check out our 5 Trends for 2015 for it is better to be the surefooted goat than the sacrificial lamb. If you have not been following these policy shifts, we have summarised 8 game-changing policy paths as Beijing herds the nation away from ‘economy vs. environment’ towards ‘economy & environment’. Water security is paramount. President Xi said “our environment has reached or is reaching the upper limit of its carrying capacity” at the year-end Central Economic Work Conference. It is all about water allocation and controlling water use & pollution. In short, staying within the ‘Three Red Lines’. So who gets water first? Which industries will be prioritised? Or will China’s energy bases drain the Yellow River? The Deputy Director of the Center for Water Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Prof. Jia Shaofeng, shares his views on how water demand by the energy sector can be met. To tackle pollution, ongoing fine-tuning of industrial standards is afoot, with government encouraging centralised or collective industrial wastewater treatment to discourage illegal discharge. However, NGOs are concerned that centralised treatment brings about centralised pollution as many treatment facilities are sub-standard. Could brands become more exposed? Could wastewater treatment plants face fines? Check out our interview with IPE’s Ma Yingying on the matter. Be warned, risks are shifting beyond the factory wall. New ways of doing ‘old things’ are also being tested. China has been experimenting with market mechanisms to hold the ‘Red Lines’. We take a closer look at these new water trading market as they could mean you might not be able to afford water in the future. Don’t be blindsided by these ‘new market tools’. How serious is Beijing? In the last 30 years, we have ‘lost’ 8,000sqkm of glaciers in the Qinghai Tibetan-Plateau. This is equivalent to the land area of eight Hong Kongs. More coal could mean these glaciers melt faster; more hydro could add to regional geopolitical tension. International Rivers’ China Program Director, Grace Mang says it’s premature to celebrate China’s low carbon promise and urges a ‘river conservation scenario’ where we don’t have to sacrifice Asia’rivers for power. The situation is sobering and critical. It’s all interlinked and it comes down to water. It is time to seriously tend to these matters in the Year of the Goat… Happy Lunar New Year!
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