Greenpeace urges China's parliament to make tough new green laws

Feature Story - 2010-03-05
It's a big day in politics for China today as the annual NPC session kicks off in Beijing. Greenpeace has some suggestions for what the legislative body should be doing.

China's parliament meets today in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Below is a statement issued by our Beijing office on the opening day of the National People's Congress (NPC).

The NPC meets once a year to pass laws and approve budgets.

As China's National People's Congress opens for its first day, Greenpeace calls on the legislative body to draw up strong policies that would accelerate a transition to a green economy.

These policies would include a carbon tax to discourage coal use, resource and environmental tax to fertilizer manufacturers, an immediate halt to the commercialization of GE crops, and a serious tightening of pollution laws against hazardous chemicals.

"Environmental degradation will stall China's economic miracle unless the nation hastens its move towards a green economy," warned Greenpeace China Campaign Director Sze Pang Cheung.

"The National People's Congress has the legislative power to draft and enact strong policies to prioritize environmental issues in the 12th Five Year Plan.  We must stop environmental pollution caused by coal burning, chemical intensive agriculture, and hazardous chemicals."

Greenpeace China proposes the following policy recommendations to China's 11th National People's Congress:

1. During the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011 to 2015), China should levy a carbon tax as soon as possible. This would accelerate resources price reform, in particular that of coal. The tax revenue should be used to encourage the development of clean technologies such as energy efficiency retrofitting and renewable energies;

2. China should implement more favorable policies to further increase the share of renewable energies and promote green construction, energy efficiency and public transport;

3. China should monitor, publicize, and eliminate hazardous chemicals such as heavy metal pollutants and Persistent Organic Pollutants;

4. China should not commercialize any Genetically Engineered (GE) food crop (in particular rice and corn), and it should start comprehensive research and investigation into the impacts of GE cotton on the environment, farmers' lives and implications for food security;

5. China should ban more highly toxic pesticide and have a reduction target for other pesticide use.

6. China should remove subsidies for chemical fertilizer production and impose policies, such as a resource tax and an environment pollution tax on the manufacturer;

And

7. China should re-organize its agricultural sector from chemical intensive farming to ecological farming.