China is to introduce a "green insurance system" to better
monitor polluting industries and help victims get immediate
compensation, said Pan Yue, vice director of the country's top
environmental watchdog, in Beijing on Monday.
The system, which aimed to have all industries with pollution
risks insured, will be implemented nationwide by 2015 after a trial
period, according to a road map jointly set by the State
Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) and the China
Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).
Pan said the system would be tried out this year in "companies
that produce, sell, store, transport or use high-risk chemical
products" and "petrochemical industries and dangerous waste
disposing enterprises that are prone to heavy and serious pollution
"Enterprises and industries having caused serious pollution
accidents in recent years will be specially targeted," he said.
In the past, once a serious environmental incident happened, the
company responsible usually resorted to bankruptcy in face of the
huge compensation and pollution control expenses.
Victims usually couldn't get timely compensation, and the
government had to earmark huge funds to rectify the situation, Pan
said, noting the green insurance system would solve the
Under the system, insurers would give timely compensation to
victims if an accident occurred. The polluting company would avoid
going bankrupt and the government's financial burden would be
"It, however, doesn't mean polluting companies can (be) rest
assured to pollute as the insurance premium is in proportion to a
company's pollution risks," Pan said.
The insurer will also invite experts to monitor and control the
environmental risks of the insured, according to the official.
China is in a period of "high incidence of environmental
pollution accidents", Pan noted.
Altogether, 108 cases of emergent environmental incidents were
reported in 2007, with one case every two days on average,
according to Pan.
SEPA figures show 81 percent of the country's 7,555 large scale
heavy chemical projects are in environmentally-sensitive areas that
are densely populated or adjacent to neighboring rivers, while 45
percent are "sources with serious risks".
The green insurance system was the second economic
environmentally-friendly policy introduced in China to curb
pollution, Pan said.
The first, called a "green credit policy", was launched in July.
It instructed banks to stop making loans to high-energy consuming
and polluting industries.
According to the policy, not only companies causing heavy
pollution and wasting energy are disqualified from getting loans,
companies that already have loans, but are later discovered to have
violated environmental protection regulations will also have their
loans called in.
(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2008)