Environment and Climate

Wind turbines in the Kuocang mountain area, Zhejiang province, China. Photo: Wild China

Introduction

China's development path has been challenged by various issues. Environmental degradation is one of the country’s major threats. Industrialization without a strong environmental protocol has caused serious air pollution, water shortage and solid waste problems.

These problems have become even more severe in the context of climate change caused by global warming. While China is still in the transition towards a market economy, the biggest challenge is to balance the country’s need for economic development with environmental sustainability.

HBS wants to find innovative solutions to enforce global climate justice and global environmental responsibility involving a variety of stakeholders from NGOs, governmental and academic institutions in China and around the world to reconcile Chinese needs within the global climate regime.

At present, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung puts a strong emphasis on the areas of energy and climate policy globally. In China, HBS is supporting policy research and dialogues related to this field.

Examples of our work include:

Technology Transfer
A Technology Transfer Case Study, supported by HBS, is based on policy research on technology transfer in China under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The study carried out by the Energy Research Institute (ERI) in cooperation with the China Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) analyzed existing commercial based technology transfers to identify needs for future public funding engagement. The result was communicated to important stakeholders in the UN climate negotiation before the COP in Copenhagen (2009) and was further discussed with related experts from Europe, US and India.

China Climate Action Network
China Climate Action Network is a network consisting of more than 20 Chinese environmental NGOs which are active in climate protection. Activities such as workshops, study trips and the publishing of handbooks are organized to enhance capacity in Chinese NGOs and to give Chinese civil society a voice to raise their concerns and ideas in China and during international climate negotiations. A delegation of the network will introduce Chinese perspectives to civil society stakeholders during NGO events at the annual COP, the next time in Cancun (Mexico) in December 2010. The growing network has been organized and supported as Cooperation by CANGO and HBS since 2007.

 For more information about the network (in English) please click here

Plastic Bag Restriction Policy Research
In June 2008 a new national policy restricting the free provision of plastic shopping bags was put into practice. A team of researchers from Bejing Normal University, with the support of HBS, subsequently visited four districts of Beijing to get a broader picture regarding the shops' complicance with and the consumer's reactions to the policy. In 2009, in cooperation with local environmental NGOs, the research was extended to 6 other Chinese cities. In 2010 the researchers submitted their research report to the Department of Resources Conservation and Environmental Protection under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and received an invitation to discuss the results with the officials in charge. In additition the Chinese media, e.g. sohu.com, showed a strong interest in the report and organized a public discussion forum. The follow-up research will focus on the overall package material recycling in China.

For more information about Chinese debates on waste management (in Chinese) please click here

Policy research on Waste Incineration Power Plant
In summer 2010, Tianxia Gongyan, an independent think tank, started a presearch project about the waste incineration power plant system in China. Under the new environmental policy for “Clean Energy” many Chinese provinces plan to choose or already chose this centrally substituted option, while at the same time public concerns about the side effects on ecology and health increased. The aim of the research is to explore a sustainable way of waste management from the perspective of efficiency in planning, set up, operation, public participation and transparency. It will compare the past experience of waste incineration in other countries, e.g. Germany, with the current developments in China. The report will be shared in round table discussions with all stakeholders involved, especially with the decision makers, to show a complete picture of waste incineration and to promote a sustainable waste management policy.