Tag Archives | Indices

Updates on the China Environmental Performance Index project

My first stop when I came back to Beijing was to meet with our partners at the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning, who we collaborated with on the “Towards a China Environmental Performance Index” project. I was excited to hear about all of the progress they’ve made in trying to move Chinese environmental policymaking on a more data-driven path. You can read about their updates here.
In summary, they are making progress on these fronts:

– Efforts to increase government environmental performance assessments.
The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection is proposing a China Environmental Performance Assessment System for implementation of the“12th Five-Year Plan,” which establishes policy goals and governs development programs for China from 2011-2015, and plans to increase the number and diversity of environmental health indicators measured at the provincial level.

– Efforts to monitor the impact of Chinese corporations on the environment.
Chinese researchers, in cooperation with the government of Sweden, are developing a corporate environmental performance assessment indicator system, which will soon focus on 100 listed firms for a pilot study.

– Efforts to track and improve the quality of life in China’s large cities.
The Chinese government is cooperating with the United Nations Environment Program to develop a China Pollution Reduction Performance Assessment research program, which will soon evaluate the pollution reduction performance of four pilot Chinese cities. There are, additionally, growing civil society and quasi-governmental programs seeking to assess the environmental quality of China’s cities, including the Asian Development Bank’s “China Environmental Livable Index of Cities,” the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Asian Green Cities Index, and The People’s Republic of China Urban Knowledge Hub.

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The danger of ‘unqualified environmental protection indexes’?

Only erroneous site selections, unqualified environmental protection indexes, and insufficient communication between officials and the public can set these projects in confrontation with public interests. This is exactly why we say what happened in Shifang should never be repeated.
The Global Times

The above quote is from an article in the Global Times regarding the recent environmental protests against a heavy-metals refinery in Shifang, which is located in Sichuan province. Thousands of Chinese citizens have taken to the streets to protest, and it’s resulted in the government’s use of riot gear to contain the crowds (read The Economist’s summary here). It’s interesting that the newspaper cited ‘unqualified environmental protection indexes’ as a reason for confrontation between the government and citizens. I wonder what the author meant by ‘unqualified environmental protection indexes’ – does this mean that citizens or non-government entities were creating their own indexes and then determining that the metal refineries were hazardous? Will this have an impact on any independent efforts to produce indices that attempt to measure or quantify environmental harm or performance?

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Measuring Progress at Rio and Beyond

This post was originally featured on Sage Magazine and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy blog.  This past Sunday at the US-Canada Citizens Summit for Sustainable Development, I facilitated a group discussion on metrics and indicators for measuring progress toward sustainable development goals.  Indicators and targets are mentioned throughout the “Zero Draft” document […]

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Asian Green Cities Index Compares 22 Asian Cities, 5 in China

The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Siemens, released a first version of an Asian Green City Index last month, which compares environmental performance across 22 cities in Asia, five of which are in China (excluding Hong Kong). This work is based on similar “Green City Index” efforts by EIU and Siemens, including a Latin American Green City Index in November 2010, which evaluates 17 cities across Latin America.

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