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ADB hails China’s pollution battle

Jiang Xueqing
Updated: Nov 2,2018 9:25 AM     China Daily

China will keep making remarkable achievements on tackling pollution with a good understanding of the role that policy plays in incentivizing the private sector to respond to green finance, said a senior executive of the Asian Development Bank.

“The economic growth that China has had over the last 40 years as a result of policy reform and opening-up is unprecedented. So while the challenges around environmental degradation are high, if you look at the history of China in terms of being able to tackle seemingly insurmountable problems, we remain quite optimistic that the Chinese government and people will be able to address these problems and move forward,” said Stephen P. Groff, vice-president for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Development Bank, in an exclusive interview with China Daily on Nov 1.

“The work that is being done in China with respect to green finance is pioneering and instructive for the rest of the world. We are really pleased to be able to support the government not only in terms of discussions, support and policy advice, with respect to specific reforms, regulatory approaches, and a number of different areas that can help build an environment in which green finance is competitive in China, but also in terms of actual provision of finance,” said Groff during a trip to Beijing to attend the International Forum on Reform and Opening Up and Poverty Reduction in China.

The ADB has a long-term commitment to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area of $500 million a year for four years. Aside from supporting financing for large companies to introduce new green technologies, the bank is also designing a project in Shandong province to provide funding for small and medium-sized enterprises to exit from polluting technologies.

“The key challenge for the government is how to define which projects deserve public support and which projects are just putting on the label of ‘green technology’ in the hope of getting support. A big part of this Shandong program is to design methodologies for quantifying environmental benefits from these new technologies,” said Benedict Bingham, the ADB country director for China.

The program is still waiting for government approval, and the bank is looking to introduce the green climate fund assessment criteria to evaluate green projects, in the hope that this model in Shandong could be an example for other parts of China to learn from.

In the Yangtze River basin, the ADB is supporting specific agricultural projects that are reducing the amount of pesticides and fertilizers that are going into the river and is looking at ways that can modernize industries in the area.