China's top five banks offered loans of more than 100 billion yuan (US$14.08 billion) last year to support companies' environmental plans, the top banking regulator said on Tuesday.
The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) also said that some 30 energy-intensive, high-polluting enterprises were denied credit from the top five banks last year after they were blacklisted by the environmental authorities.
The CBRC said that 106.3 billion yuan in loans were extended by the major commercial banks -- including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank -- to help enterprises cut emissions and save energy.
Some 3.93 billion yuan worth of credit was called in from companies that failed to meet environment standards, the CBRC statistics showed.
Major commercial banks have provided 1.7 trillion yuan in loans for energy-intensive, polluting industries including chemicals, iron and steel and thermal power generation.
The government has launched several "green" economic measures to prevent further environmental problems. For example, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) on Monday required companies to pass an environmental assessment to go public or raise new capital.
And on Tuesday, the agency blacklisted 141 products as being "highly polluting and environmentally dangerous." It suggested that 39 such items should be ineligible for tax refunds, as well as processing and trading.
The blacklist would protect public health and be a tangible step toward honoring China's international commitments to safeguard the environment, Pan Yue, deputy head of the SEPA, said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2008)