Yale/Columbia Team Report on Province-level Environmental Performance in China
The first independent analysis of China environmental data at the sub-national level by an international team has been released by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Yale University. The report, Towards a China Environmental Performance Index, presents a framework for assessing environmental performance by province as an aid to developing government environmental policies. China faces formidable environmental challenges owing to its large population, limited water resources, rapid economic growth, and fast-paced urbanization.
The research was carried out in collaboration with the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning and the City University of Hong Kong. The framework that emerged, developed in consultation with many environmental experts in China and the U.S., provides a tailored set of issues and indicators that will be important to track for the foreseeable future. Core policy issues include air pollution, water quality, climate change, energy efficiency, and toxic metals, among others. According to the report, greater transparency and freer access to data, especially raw data from monitoring systems and spatial data on environmental conditions, are essential in the future development of environmental performance indicators for China.
The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and CIESIN have been the world leaders in developing national-scale environmental indices since they launched the Environmental Sustainability Index in the year 2000. The motivation behind the subnational work in China was to better reflect the country's diverse geographical landscapes and differentiated environmental stresses, and to provide a more effective tool for policy making.
See: Report: Towards a China Environmental Performance Index
Blog: China’s Long March Towards Better Environmental Conditions