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October 20th, 2008:

Bonuses Offered To Encourage Beijing Firms To Fight Pollution

SCMP | 20 October 2008

Beijing enterprises (SEHK: 0392) could get a government bonus ranging from 500,000 yuan (HK$567,450) to 2.3 million yuan for ceasing high-pollution production, the city’s finance bureau said yesterday. The move was to encourage the replacement of high-pollution industries with environmentally friendly businesses, it said.

Companies such as small cement and paper producers will be on the top of our list,” the bureau said. Bureau officials said fiscal incentives would be granted in accordance with the amount of energy, water and emission the companies saved or cut. The municipal government would conduct verification of the steps taken by the companies to fight pollution before giving out the bonuses. Xinhua

Author Discusses His Vision Of Alternative To Kyoto Accord

Dan Kadison – SCMP | Updated on Oct 20, 2008

An environmental writer thinks the international community should produce a new climate agreement because the Kyoto Protocol is failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

British author Oliver Tickell, 50, sat down with the South China Morning Post in the city last week and asserted why the climate accord should not be reformed after its commitment period ends in 2012.

“We’re better off having an agreement which is actually designed to be effective, efficient, equitable, and operate on a much shorter time scale,” Tickell said.

His book, Kyoto2, published in July, focuses on climate change, the accord and solutions to the problem.

The Kyoto Protocol, which was signed in 1997 and came into force in 2005, calls for certain industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet targets for a 2008 to 2012 commitment period. Unfortunately, Tickell added, it “provides an inadequate vehicle” for eliminating pollution.

“For a global agreement that’s really going to work … all countries have to be involved. And greenhouse gas emissions have been going up faster in the developing countries with no targets – China, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa.”

Tickell’s book proposes a three-part strategy in which greenhouse gas permits are capped and auctioned off to fossil-fuel producers, the estimated trillion dollars raised from the purchase of permits are spent on energy improvements, and regulations are enacted.

“What you’re doing is bringing down those emissions in a targeted way, in an efficient way. At no point does the carbon price have to reach a level at which it is painful.”

As for Hong Kong, Tickell said there were environmentally friendly features that other countries could learn from – walkways and the Mid-Levels escalator for pedestrians, plenty of green space and the taxis burn clean fuel. To make it greener, Hongkongers could build more green-friendly buildings, use more energy-efficient appliances and rely on less air conditioning, he added.

Tickell met city corporate and environmental leaders, discussing climate change with the Climate Change Business Forum and the Earth Champions Foundation.

The Post is the media sponsor of the Earth Champions Quest, a search for local people and groups improving the environment.

One Billion City Dwellers Forecast

Staff Reporter – SCMP | Updated on Oct 20, 2008

The mainland’s urban population could reach almost 1 billion in the coming years, the president of the International Institute for Urban Development said in Beijing yesterday.

Lian Yuming told a forum that not only would China witness rapid growth of its urban population, but the widening wealth gap would also likely intensify in the coming decades.

He predicted that more rural people would move into cities and the urban population would increase to 915 million by 2025.

China would also have many more mega-cities – cities with more than 10 million residents – including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin , Wuhan , Chongqing and Chengdu.

These cities, Professor Lian said, would face serious problems such as traffic congestion, resource shortages and pollution.

The influence of city clusters – the three key ones being the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area – would rise further, and they could play a commanding role in the national economy and development.

A transient population would continue to be the driving force behind the rapid growth of mainland cities, Professor Lian said. He estimated that the urban population would increase by 350 million by 2025 with the transient population – mainly migrant workers and jobseekers from the countryside – accounting for 240 million.

Professor Lian, who also teaches at the Communist Party School, said the middle class would continue to be the dominant force in cities, and their emergence would be a key factor behind the rise of civic society and democracy.

In terms of infrastructure, Professor Lian said air transport would likely become the key mode of transport and the number of airports would reach 244 by 2020.

But he warned that government needed to pay attention to the country’s widening wealth gap.