China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Beijing May Green for the Olympics, but Long-Term Forecast Is Gray

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Beijing residents in Tiananmen Square, used to pea-soup smog, ignored a citywide stay-indoors warning on Thursday.

Published: December 29, 2007

BEIJING — Every day, monitoring stations across the city measure air pollution to determine if the skies above this national capital can officially be designated blue. It is not an act of whimsy: with Beijing preparing to play host to the 2008 Olympic Games, the official Blue Sky ratings are the city’s own measuring stick for how well it is cleaning up its polluted air.

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Choking on Growth

This is the tenth in a series of articles and multimedia examining the human toll, global impact and political challenge of China's epic pollution crisis.

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In Translation

Summaries of articles in this series are available in Chinese.

Listen to a reading of the translation. (mp3)
Aaron Kuo-Deemer for The New York Times

ADDED CARS, LOST HORIZONS The rush-hour haze in western Beijing one morning this month. An additional 1,200 cars and trucks roll into Beijing every day.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

BUILDING VERSUS BREATHING As the National Stadium rises for the Olympics, its construction adds to the level of harmful particulates in the air. Stadiums measured by an Olympic official had four times the safe level of particulates.

Thursday did not bring good news. The gray, acrid skies rated an eye-reddening 421 on a scale of 500, with 500 being the worst. Friday rated 500. Both days far exceeded pollution levels deemed safe by the World Health Organization. In Beijing, officials warned residents to stay indoors until Saturday, but residents here are accustomed to breathing foul air. One man flew a kite in Tiananmen Square.

For Beijing officials, Thursday was especially depressing because the city was hoping to celebrate an environmental victory. In recent years, Beijing has steadily increased its Blue Sky days. The city needs one more, defined as scoring below 101, to reach its goal of 245 Blue Sky days this year. These improving ratings are how Beijing hopes to reassure the world that Olympic athletes will not be gasping for breath next August.

“We’re definitely hoping for the best,” said Jon Kolb, a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, “but preparing for the worst.”

For the world’s Olympians, Beijing’s air is a performance issue. The concern is that respiratory problems could impede athletic performance and prevent records from being broken. For the city’s estimated 12 million residents, pollution is an inescapable health and quality-of-life issue. Skepticism about the validity of the Blue Sky ratings is common. Moreover, the concern is whether the city can clean itself up long after the Games are over.

Beijing has long ranked as one of the world’s most polluted cities. To win the Games, Beijing promised a “Green Olympics” and undertook environmental initiatives now considered models for the rest of the country. But greening Beijing has not meant slowing it down. Officials also have encouraged an astonishing urbanization boom that has made environmental gains seem modest, if not illusory.

Beijing is like an athlete trying to get into shape by walking on a treadmill yet eating double cheeseburgers at the same time. Polluting factories have been moved or closed. But auto emissions are rising as the city adds up to 1,200 new cars and trucks every day. Dirty, coal-burning furnaces have been replaced, lowering the city’s sulfur dioxide emissions. But fine-particle pollution has been exacerbated by a staggering citywide construction binge that shows no signs of letting up.

China’s unsolved riddle is how to reconcile fast economic growth with environmental protection. But Beijing’s Olympic deadline means the city needs an immediate answer. The ruling Communist Party envisions the Games as a public relations showcase and is leaving no detail untended. Scientists are cross-breeding chrysanthemums to ensure that flowers bloom in August.

Now Beijing is also going to try to manipulate air quality. For months, scientists have treated the city like a laboratory, testing wind patterns and atmospheric structure, while pinpointing local and regional pollution sources. Olympics contingency plans have been approved for Beijing and surrounding provinces. Details are not public, but officials have discussed shutting down factories and restricting traffic during the Games.

“We are determined to ensure that the air conditions meet the necessary standards in August 2008,” Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games, told the International Olympic Committee’s executive board this month.

Beijing residents overwhelmingly support the Games and take for granted that officials will do what is necessary to ensure clean air. Last August, the city removed a million cars from roads during a four-day test intended to gauge pollution and traffic. But people also know that any emergency measures have a limited shelf life.

“Yes, I heard about it,” said an engineer at one factory that may temporarily be shut down. He refused to identify himself because he was criticizing government policy. “It is like you invite some guests to your home, and hide all your children underneath the bed to make the house look nicer. If all the polluting factories are shut down for the Olympics, there will be a major pollution outbreak afterward when all the factories restart, right?”

Beijing officials say the Olympics will have a lasting and positive environmental legacy on the city. International Olympic Committee officials acknowledge that air quality remains a problem, but they say the air would be far worse without improvements made for the Games. “The general trend is improvement,” said Simon Balderstone, an environmental adviser for the I.O.C.

But pollution is expected to remain a major, long-term challenge as Beijing’s population may eventually exceed 20 million people. Scientists also say the city will never be able to clean itself up if surrounding industrial provinces are not cleaned up, too.

Blue skies, in other words, will remain a challenge.

Growth Offsets Gains

In July 2001, Beijing won the right to serve as the host of the 2008 Games, a victory that carried a touch of vindication. Eight years earlier, the International Olympic Committee had rejected Beijing’s first bid for a variety of reasons, including the city’s polluted environment.

This time, Beijing organizers promised a “Green Olympics.”

“Beijing has come a long way since its last bid in 1993,” said Wang Wei, a senior Beijing Olympics official, speaking at the city’s final Olympic presentation in Moscow in 2001. “The city has taken giant steps to fight pollution caused by industrialization and economic growth.”

Beijing’s environmental program had begun in 1997 and became the centerpiece of the city’s Olympic environmental commitments. Urban sewage treatment has doubled since 2001. Use of natural gas has jumped 38-fold as city officials have converted thousands of dirty coal-fired furnaces and boilers. Factories have been shut down or relocated to the suburbs. Millions of trees have been planted.

“For many years, the city had few environmental rules,” said Mr. Balderstone, the I.O.C. environmental adviser, who regularly consults with Beijing officials. “It’s like they are playing catch-up on a lot of these measures.”

But Beijing’s Olympic bid also intensified a stunning urban boom. Since 2000, Beijing’s gross domestic product has jumped 144 percent, according to Beijing Olympic officials. New office buildings and apartment towers seem to rise every week. More than 1.7 billion square feet of new construction has been started since 2002, most of it unrelated to the Olympics.

Cleaner Coal, but More of It

The emerging cityscape is often dazzling, but also energy intensive and polluting. Beijing now requires factories and power plants to burn cleaner, low-sulfur coal, but it had also hoped to reduce overall coal consumption in the years before the Olympics. Instead, the city’s coal consumption peaked at 30 million tons last year. Beijing also has only one office tower that qualifies under international and national energy efficiency standards as a green building. Construction, meanwhile, is expected to continue at a rapid pace.

“I think there will be another 20 to 30 years of urbanization,” said Wu Weijia, a professor at Tsinghua University’s Institute of Urban Studies. “The scale of construction in Beijing will not slow down after the Olympics.”

Meanwhile, an explosion of car ownership has wrought gridlocked traffic and a halo of auto fumes. Beijing now has more than three million vehicles and is adding more than 400,000 new cars and trucks each year. The city’s reliance on cars and trucks leaves its air with few reprieves. As in other Chinese cities, heavy trucks can only enter at night. Diesel exhaust is so severe that Beijing’s levels of PM 2.5, a tiny particulate deemed potentially harmful to health, is highest between midnight and 3 a.m., according to one survey.

Beijing is fighting auto pollution by instituting China’s highest vehicle emissions standards. Nearly 79,000 new taxis with lower emissions have replaced older, outdated models. But Beijing has been unwilling to discourage private car ownership by instituting exorbitant fees as Shanghai has done. Depending on the car, license plates in Shanghai can cost as much as $7,000; as a result, Shanghai adds about one-fourth as many cars per year as Beijing.

Beijing’s problems are compounded because its public transportation system was neglected for years. Now, the city is expanding subway lines and finishing a rail line from the airport to downtown, but car ownership is expected to keep rising.

“If you discourage people from having a car, the public transportation system would be overburdened,” said Mr. Wu, the Tsinghua professor.

Taking Pollution’s Measure

Mr. Kolb, the Canadian Olympic official, spent much of August in Beijing trying to answer the question hanging over the city as the Games approach: Has air quality actually improved?

An environmental physiologist, Mr. Kolb visited several stadiums, and sneaked into a few others, to measure pollution with a small monitoring device. On Aug. 5, his measurement of fine particles pollution, or PM 10, reached 200, roughly four times above the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.

“We’re worried,” Mr. Kolb said. Of Beijing air pollution, he added: “There’s no doubt about it. It’s off the charts.”

A decade ago, Beijing introduced the Blue Sky program to measure sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM 10. Under the system, monitors take regular readings of each pollutant and then calculate a 24-hour average for each. The daily Blue Sky rating is determined by whichever pollutant has the highest 24-hour average.

For China’s authoritarian government, the system represented a breakthrough. But it is less stringent than air-quality indexes in the United States. Indeed, a day that rates “good” in Beijing would usually be rated polluted in the United States.

In 1998, Beijing recorded only 100 Blue Sky days. Each ensuing year, the city has improved the number until reaching the current 244 and pending. Cleaner coal has helped reduce sulfur dioxide by 25 percent since 2001. Nitrogen dioxide is also down. But Beijing’s biggest problem is PM 10 and other particulates, which are attributed to construction, industry and cars.

Average daily levels of PM 10 exceed national and W.H.O. standards. In 2004, the concentration of airborne particulates in Beijing equaled that of New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and Atlanta combined, according to the United States Embassy in Beijing. Earlier this year, a report by the United Nations Environment Program concluded that “air pollution is still the single largest environmental and public health issue affecting the city.”

“Particularly worrying are the levels of small particulate matter (PM 10) in the atmosphere, which is severely deleterious to public health,” the report stated.

The Blue Sky system sets a maximum rating of 500, meaning that on the worst days the actual pollution level could be even higher. “Good” air in Beijing is any Blue Sky rating below 101. But even good air is often not very good; this year, Beijing has had 65 days that rated between 95 and 100. That bulge just inside the break point has attracted attention on Web sites and even at one foreign embassy, which compiled a statistical analysis casting doubt on the Blue Sky results, though the embassy’s officials refuse to discuss the findings.

Du Shaozhong, deputy director of Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau, said the ratings were not manipulated. “People used to ask me if the ratings are scientific, or if we are playing any tricks,” Mr. Du said. “But this is most advanced equipment in the world.”

Mr. Kolb said Olympic athletes were worried about ozone, which can inflame the respiratory tract and make it more difficult to breathe. But Beijing’s monitoring system does not measure ozone, nor does it measure the finer particulates known as PM 2.5.

This year, a team of Chinese and American scientists analyzed air quality issues for the Olympics and found that Beijing’s daily concentrations of PM 2.5 rated anywhere from 50 percent to 200 percent higher than American standards. Their study, published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, also found that ozone regularly exceeded levels deemed safe by American standards.

Studies are under way to assess the health impact of pollution in Beijing. One 2003 study warned that air pollution could be a major contributor to premature deaths related to chronic pulmonary disease, especially in the winter. Another study showed that visits to hospital emergency rooms rose on days with higher pollution levels.

On a recent afternoon at Beijing Hospital, Dr. Li Yi, a respiratory specialist, said he now saw 50 patients a day for respiratory problems compared with about half that a decade ago. He said asthma cases had increased sharply, as had the number of patients with nonsmoking-related lung cancer.

“You can’t say that pollution is the only reason,” Dr. Li said. “But nonsmoking-related lung cancer is now increasing more quickly.”

Beyond the Olympics

In August, Beijing marked the one-year countdown to the Games with a celebration at Tiananmen Square and several test competitions at different sites. Jacques Rogge, president of the I.O.C., applauded Beijing’s preparations, but also cautioned that pollution might force the postponement of some endurance sports.

Hu Fei, director of the Institute of Atmosphere Physics in Beijing, said any concern was misplaced. “Don’t worry about the Olympics,” Mr. Hu said, expressing confidence that contingency plans would produce clean air for the Games. “We need to be concerned about the long term.”

Mr. Hu said finding a long-term fix is difficult because of Beijing’s geography. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Beijing depends on strong winds to disperse pollution. Yet winds also draw pollution into the city. The study in Atmospheric Environment estimated that as much as 60 percent of ozone detected at the National Stadium could be traced to outside provinces.

“Beijing is a pollution source itself, and it is surrounded by other pollution sources,” Mr. Hu said. “When you have wind, it brings in pollution from other sources. When you don’t have wind, the local pollution cannot disperse.”

Xu Jianping, 55, a business consultant, does not need to be told that Beijing is overrun with cars and construction. He is an avid in-line skater who enjoyed skating to work until pollution left him spitting out black phlegm. He went online and ordered a gas mask.

“But I don’t want to wear it,” said Mr. Xu, fearing his mask would be misinterpreted as a protest against the Olympics. “It would hurt China’s image.”

So until the Games are over, Mr. Xu is taking the bus to the office. He plans to vacation outside the city during the Games. Then, when life in Beijing returns to normal, he plans to resume skating to work — with his mask, if necessary.

Zhang Jing, Ma Yi and Huang Yuanxi contributed research.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Director Zhang Yimou wins "Green Chinese" award 2007-12-15 08:10:27 Print

Chinese Director Zhang Yimou (L) was among nine winners of the "Green Chinese" awards, a government environmental prize, on Friday for his engagement in environmental protection. (Xinhua Photo)

Chinese Director Zhang Yimou (L) was among nine winners of the "Green Chinese" awards, a government environmental prize, on Friday for his engagement in environmental protection. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Director Zhang Yimou was among nine winners of the "Green Chinese" awards, a government environmental prize, on Friday for his engagement in environmental protection.

The Academy Award-winning director was "following eco-friendly rules during movie shooting and highlighting green issues as the chief director for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in 2008," according to the award citation.

The annual award this year has focused on the protection of water after a series of major water pollution incidents.

The award winners, considered environment protection "role models," include: Wang Yongchen, the founder of non-governmental Green Earth Volunteers; Chai Jing, a China Central Television journalist, who has conducted in-depth reports on environmental issues; Zhao Xihai, a retired worker who has planted hundreds of thousands of trees over the past decade.

The award, co-sponsored by seven Chinese government departments, including the State Environmental Protection Administration and the Ministry of Culture, and supported by the United Nations Environment Program, was established in 2005.

The award caught public attention last year as a result of the controversial "negative example" nomination of Chinese film directors Chen Kaige and Zhang Jizhong, though neither made it to the final short list.

Chen's film, "The Promise," damaged the environment near a pristine lake shore in Shangri-la, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, and the film company behind Zhang's film was accused of damaging the environment in the Jiuzhaigou National Park, in Sichuan Province, during shooting.

Zhang later agreed to make a documentary to compensate. Chen was fined as a result of his film damaging the environment.

Many netizens described the nomination of the directors as an outrageous irony, saying Chen's movie had focused mass attention on environmental protection.

"Negative examples" and "controversial figures" have for the first time being added to the nominations to serve as a warning, according to the organizing committee.

All candidates went through several selection rounds, started as early as September, and public voting, before the announcement of the final result on Friday evening.

NYT:Answers from Yu Jie

Answers from Yu Jie

Today we have answers to reader questions from Yu Jie, following the ninth article in the series on the the transfer of heavy industry to China from the West. Yu Jie is China Program Advisor for the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Beijing.


Pollution is indeed a serious problem confronting Chinese. They have to think out a way to avoid continuing to pay the price for unhealthy economic growth. However, this problem should not be overestimated. I believe for most Chinese, the first and foremost important thing is how to make the purse heavy. Don’t forget that only after one becomes rich is he able to afford to clean the environment. Corrupt officials and unwise development strategies should be condemned, but the point should be how to help the Chinese to address this problem. For one thing, thanks to globalization, China’s problem is also ours. — Luke Norton


Mr. Norton, I appreciate your comment. You highlight the role of development strategies and pernicious corruption, which I believe are two fundamental factors of the larger problem. China needs to reverse environmental degradation both by employing clean technology and more importantly, by enhancing good governance. By this, I mean allowing and expanding public participation on both new project approval and the monitoring of existing projects. For example, this year there was a case which may one day be written into Chinese environmental protection movement history. Citizens in Xiamen strove to reject a large chemical plant (a 1 billion euro investment) to be built near their homes. Citizens, along with like-minded residents, changed the political game. On one hand, this case shows that people are standing up to fight for their rights when having a clean environment is jeopardized. On the other hand, some elites within the government took public opinion into account. Recent days show that the plant will still be built, but moved elsewhere.

[For more on the protests in Xiamen, here is some video posted on a blog.]


Actually, China’s great economic achievement is basically made on the sacrifice of the environment. Take my hometown, for example. It used to be a beautiful small town with green hills and clean and clear rivers crossing over the farmlands, but recently — with more and more factories moved from the Pearl River Delta, an industrialized area in the south of China — more and more chimneys stand firmly on ground that used to be covered with grasses; polluted air is discharged from the chimneys; polluted water flows into the rivers that used to be the fish and clothes-washing water resource. The ordinary people got nothing from the factories and the polluted environment but bad material which do nothing for their health. Wealth is shared only by the government and businessmen, but the poor villagers need to be responsible for the worse environment. There are too many things that the local people can’t help but accept! Who should take responsibility? — Lin Qiaosheng


These are good points, and I thank you for them. The poor are the ones who live closest to the environment and their livelihood depends directly on its condition. Moreover, the indigent usually see little direct benefit from industries that want to establish manufacturing there. The residents of these areas — many of whom have lived there for generations — thus find themselves even more bereft. Environmental degradation makes their lives all the more difficult. The failure to address this problem of development overwhelming daily life is, in itself, a form of wealth distribution. Production increases, and the poor suffer.


Could the Three Gorges Dam provide enough electrical power to offset and supliment the fossil fuel use? — S. Donato


It can not. China’s energy demand is far beyond the capacity added by Three Gorges Dam. The dam itself may be adding to environmental problems, according to some officials and scholars.

Fossil fuel will continue to be a major energy resource in the future for China. There are also more hydro projects being planned for the future. Almost every conventional energy resource has an environmental or social cost. Therefore, when we are seeking solutions to meet China’s energy demands, there needs to be even more attention paid to conserving energy.

China’s emission trend is not going to be reversed in the short term. Many experts understand this, and there are ongoing discussions in Europe about carbon capture-and-storage technology. There will be two demonstration projects started, though not until 2014.


This informative series has pointed out something I haven’t heard much of elsewhere — for all of our posturing, the West (and the U.S. in particular) has not truly reduced pollution, simply outsourced it to China. We call for lower pollution levels, but are not willing to pay more for affording technologies. Until we reduce unsustainable consumerism and demand, the overall global level of pollution will not dramatically decrease. Fair assessment? — Scott R


I agree with you, Scott. Globalization has changed both manufacturing and consumption patterns. As you know, goods are more affordable for Western consumers while more raw materials are being exploited at another end of the world. For example, manufacturing cheaper furniture, primarily for markets in developed countries, is perhaps praiseworthy but it also adds to deforestation because processing the timber in China is much cheaper. More attention is being paid to the downside of global markets. The recent round of U.N. climate negotiations addressed the issue and spoke of providing incentives to nations to reduce deforestation. Consumption patterns must change.


Is it true that cancer has become the largest cause of death in China? Can this cancer be attributed to water/air/ground pollution? What seems to be the fate of China’s environment given that they are the manufacturing center of the world and ruled by economically liberal dictators? In other words, in the absence of democracy, is there a realistic chance that Chinese people can ask their dictator government to take serious steps to reverse the pollution trend? — Abhijit


You are correct, Abhijit. Since last year, cancer has become the No.1 cause of death here in China. Water and air pollution, as well as food safety are major reasons for this development. Poor implementation of environment laws add to the problem.

It is also true that China is facing a significant challenge because it is the world’s factory. Yet democracy alone — in whatever form — is not a panacea. Good governance is crucial. The case of Xiamen mentioned above bears this out.

Chinese officials have spoken of “harmonious society”. This concept is evolving, and while there is little prospect for a society without conflict, there is at least hope that better, more responsive institutions might be built.


A good deal of China’s pollution is caused by the energy they need to produce all the manufactured goods that they supply to the U.S. and Europe. We have in effect transferred a lot of our manufacturing industry to China with no real concern about the extra pollution this causes.

In the U.K. we import enormous amounts of Chinese produced consumer goods and export greenhouse gas emissions and waste for recycling in return. I think the West therefore has a moral duty to help China improve its energy efficiency & reduce their emissions. — Jonathan (London, U.K.)


Guilt and morality may play a role — and perhaps they should. It also makes economic sense to think in terms of mutual responsibility.


I have never understood why pollution and greenhouse gas statistics are cited by country and not per capita. If China had broken up into smaller countries centuries ago as Europe did, I bet that the U.S. and most European countries would look much worse in comparison. Also, this article could suggest that the country using the end product of the industry, should be charged with the greenhouse gas production and pollution. — Martha F.


Per capita is a better criteria of evaluation than national measures, I agree. Still, there are flaws, especially when considering that developing nations, such as China, see the need to build massive infrastructures to provide benefit for the population here.

The national has to give way to the global. The Bali negotiation is a start — a further step on the road to conceiving of climate change and its effects as more common and more complicated. The world needs to address climate change together, alongside committed governments empowered by their citizens.

Identifying the problems as common must produce collective measures by all countries. Agreeing on the nature of the challenge is only one part of saving nature.


Without a promising pension system (or, say, social security system) in China, most Chinese, no matter individuals and businesses, focus on quick profit and want to earn money as much as possible and as quickly as possible to secure the future. While the whole society is losing the responsibliity for our environment and social welfare.

Chinese have the right to live the good life. With current trends, China will soon reach the same level of energy consumption per capita as Western nations of the highest energy efficiency (Japan or Switzerland). The total energy consumption of China will then be very huge even if China can improve its efficiency to Japan’s.

My question is: Is it sustainable for China to achieve Western high energy consumption levels for the good life? (Assume China’s energy efficiency will be as high as Japan’s.) — Xiaodi Yang


You are right to note that, because of its big population, China has to place tremendous effort into energy efficiency. China is building up the institutions to improve energy efficiency standards, to reach its target of reducing energy consumption per GDP production from 2005-2010. Much of the progress depends upon technology, but that does not stand alone.

One problem, though, is that measures of emissions (per capita) vary depending upon the level of development. In much of the developed world, current emissions tend to be from residential sources and from transportation. But in China, for example, industrial emissions dominate.

Having a good life means, for a start, understanding that there are different models of development. Some are sustainable, some are not. Developing countries need to think of ways in which building infrastructure does not trap them into a future of high-emissions. Alternatives do exist.


We hear a lot of the rapid on-lining of new coal-fired power plants in China. This new construction begs the question of whether energy efficiency can ever solve the problem of a country currently getting more and more of its power from this cheap, easy but polluting power source. Given the condensed time frame we have to restrain global warming, it seems that nuclear power could go a long way, in the short term, towards reducing greenhouse gases. China has nuclear technology, but is there no impetus to generate power from nuclear rather than coal technology? — Gabriel London


You are correct in saying that this new capacity has grown enormously in the last few years. But energy efficiency in these new coal power plants has also grown — some are close to current OECD standards. If China can continue to replace low-efficiency coal power plants (many of which are small and local), then the new capacity is not necessary a bad thing.

Insofar as nuclear power is concerned, China recently purchased what is known as “third-generation nuclear technology” from France. Whether or not this decision is a smart one is debatable. But the confidence about nuclear power in China also depends on transparency and publicity regarding not only the placement of these new plants but also waste processing.

An ongoing case in Rushan, Shandong province illustrates that no matter what potential benefit nuclear power might have in mitigating China’s energy demands (currently assumed but undemonstrated), the nuclear alternative makes no sense without public support. Construction has been held up due to citizen resistance.


With a huge trade deficit with the West, wouldn’t it be a win-win for China to buy modern Western environmental technology with funds they have already earned by selling us cheap toys, clothing and electronics. The Western countries would get huge sales of technology and China would get more sustainable development. — Brother Bill


Technology transfer is complicated. There are intellectual copyright and trademark issues. Sellers prefer to offer goods, not the ideas that produced them. Also, the goods that China manufactures simply do not cover external costs. China also lags behind in research and development of its own intellectual property that might be used to exchange and share technologies.

Government can play a crucial role in this respect, by bringing buyers and sellers together, as well as acting as a guarantor, protecting the reasonable rights of companies. We need to see the problems associated with environmental technologies — their development and their transfer — as a global challenge demanding creative solutions. Climate change is a prime example of where the common good should inspire the public sector and private companies.