Green GDP accounting - which takes into account the impact of
environmental degradation on the economy - has hit a snag, a source
with the environmental watchdog said.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has asked the State
Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) not to release the
latest results of Green GDP to the public and keep them only as a
reference for policymakers, said the source.
The NBS and SEPA jointly released the Green GDP accounting for
2004 last September amid much fanfare; and the results for 2005
were planned to be released this month by SEPA.
"Experience has shown that both the theory and the methodology
of Green GDP accounting are not sophisticated enough," the NBS said
in the letter obtained by China Daily. "There are lots of
difficulties in the pilot project."
The NBS said that the results would be sent to the State
Council, the Cabinet, which would decide whether to publicize
The SEPA and NBS jointly launched the project in March 2004 to
drive home to the public and officials the waste created and
environmental damage wrought in the process of economic growth.
Simply put, Green GDP is calculated by deducting the cost of
natural resources' depletion and environmental degradation from
The country's first Green GDP report showed pollution caused
losses of 511.8 billion yuan (US$64 billion) in 2004, or 3.05
percent of the 16 trillion yuan (US$2 trillion) GDP that year.
At the news conference marking the release of the report, Pan
Yue, vice-minister of SEPA, said the figures marked "only the
beginning of our efforts in calculating Green GDP".
But soon after the report was released, some of the 10 provinces
and municipalities in the pilot project were reluctant to continue
their participation and wanted to pull out because of concerns that
regional economic growth could be hit.
"It is good news if the suspension of the release of figures
could improve the system of Green GDP accounting, as well as its
implementation," said Zheng Yisheng, professor at the Center for
Environment and Development affiliated to the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences. "But it is a pity if it means an end to Green GDP
(China Daily March 23, 2007)