Green GDP is needed to adjust officials' concepts of political achievement, says an article in Southern Metropolis Daily. The following is an excerpt:
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said recently that it was hard to demonstrate the economic cost of environmental deterioration, as there is no worldwide standard for the calculation of Green GDP. Besides calculation problems, another reason given by the NBS for postponing the Green GDP was that no other country had officially publicized their results.
However, the calculation of Green GDP in other countries is normally done by non-governmental organizations, so it is not common for governments to publicize the results. To realize sustainable development, China has a greater demand for a Green GDP calculation system.
Governments normally use economic growth to measure the performance of its officials. But damages made to the environment and ecology as well as people's health cannot be reflected in the GDP calculation.
It is a pity that GDP growth figures have become the strongest index for measuring officials' performances. Some of them openly exploit the environment to attract high-polluting companies then obstruct environment departments from enforcing the law. Officials get promoted because of the rising GDP growth, while the environment is ignored.
Today, the central government has put the implementation of the scientific development concept as a high priority. Regional governments' mere pursuit of GDP growth must be turned round and the system for measuring the success of officials must be changed.
The introduction of a Green GDP system would be the best way to do this.
(China Daily July 25, 2007)