China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Friday, February 24, 2006

Protection of environment job for all

February 24, 2006, Via China Daily

China has made great progress in its environmental protection thanks to the joint efforts of the government and the public, said Gerd Leipold, the global executive director of Greenpeace.

But he also urged that the Chinese Government should take a more serious view on climate changes by promoting the use of renewable energy.

Leipold has been in Beijing this week to attend a forum about corporate social responsibility.

"Currently China has a much stronger environmental awareness among politicians, academic people, journalists, young people especially students and the population in general," Leipold said.

"The government is excellent when it comes to environmental protection. For example, the response to the chemical spill in the Songhua River last year was very impressive.

"China's environmental legislation, compared with that of other countries, is quite good, and the enforcement is also good."

Greenpeace, one of the most influential environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the world, lists China as one of the most strategically important countries in the world.

"It is not only because of China's fast growth," Leipold said, "but also because it is a test case of whether another model of development could succeed.

"If China follows the old Western model of first getting rich by exploiting its environment and then using the wealth to make up for the damage, it will have disastrous consequences."

Leipold called climate change one of the greatest threats to the planet today.

To that end, he said that China took a positive step by holding a large renewable energy conference last year, but needs to do more. And Greenpeace can help the country by providing more information.

Leipold also urged enterprises in China to pursue not only quality in manufacturing but also environmentally friendly processes for the sake of Chinese people's health and the environment.

Last year, Greenpeace urged international food companies not to use genetically modified materials and pushed IT companies to promise not to use toxic materials.

"Greenpeace China has played an increasingly important role in the country these years," said Deng Guosheng, director of the NGO Research Centre at Tsinghua University.

"Although it took some aggressive measures when it entered China, it has shifted its focus to strengthening co-operation with the government and winning trust from consumers. Since Greenpeace insists on not accepting support from companies, it can be very independent and take tough action against them if it finds they are destroying the environment."

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