China’s super Ministry of Environment

China created this week a super ministry of the Environment that will push forward the issue to the core of the policies of the People’s Republic government.

This occurs as the people is becoming less and less satisfied of the quality of the air it breathes and the water it drinks. Moreover, issues are more and more serious.

To me this is not that good news as the energy and transport issues are not linked to this super Ministry, and believe me they definitively should…

Indeed, pollution is partly due to the energy generation. This is even more true in China, where the vast majority of electricity generation is done by coal, by far the most polluting solution.

Concerning the news itself, the Agence France Presse (AFP) states :

China announced Tuesday it would set up five new “super ministries”, including its first one dedicated to environmental protection, in an effort to streamline the government and fight corruption.

(…) Cabinet secretary general Hua Jianmin told parliament that the changes were necessary to make the government more efficient and to curb abuse of power.

“Public administration and public services are still weak,” Hua said.

“The phenomena of misuse of authority, abusing power for personal gains and corruption still exist.”

Hua said the problems of overlapping responsibilities and low efficiency within the government remained “quite serious”, while some areas of the bureaucracy were not being adequately supervised.

The five new ministries will be: the Ministry of Industry and Information, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction, and the Ministry of Transport.

A National Bureau of Energy will also be set up to oversee energy policy across all ministries.

(…) The establishment of the new environment ministry is part of the government’s efforts to give more muscle to those in charge of the long-running and seemingly losing struggle against China’s pollution problems.”Environmental protection is a basic policy of our nation. It is linked to our national development,” Hua said, adding that China had to “expand the scope of environmental management” and “create an environmentally friendly society.”

The State Environment Protection Administration, which has previously suffered from low levels of staffing and resources, will be upgraded to take charge of the new portfolio.

“The establishment of the Environment Ministry will signal a turning point at which environmental issues are moving from the margin to the centre of governance in China,” Greenpeace Campaign Director Lo Sze Ping said.

“We hope the promotion will also give the new ministry real teeth’ to enforce China’s environmental regulations and to counter the vested interests of growth-at-all-cost,” Lo said in a statement.

The new “super” transport ministry will bring together the bodies responsible for aviation, road and shipping. But an independent ministry for rail has been retained, apparently signalling a win for those in charge of the lucrative sector who had reportedly fought hard to hold on to their powers.

The National People’s Congress, or parliament, is due to vote on the ruling Communist party’s plans before the two-week annual session ends on Tuesday. The NPC is a rubber stamp body that endorses the plans of the party.

To conclude, I think it is good news but there is something lacking. We will see when further news arise the outcome of these new policies.

So, for this and for much more, stay tuned and don’t hesitate to leave your opinion on this topic and write a comment as I would gladly read you.

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