Sino-Norwegian Conference on IMPACTS and National Monitoring


Nov 9, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)


Norwegian Conference on IMPACTS and National Monitoring
System (ENSIS),

Opening speech by

Ambassador Tor Chr. Hildan,

Norwegian Embassy,


uan Hotel
, Beijing

30 November
, 2004

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Norwegian Embassy, I welcome you to this final conference today
on Acid Rain (IMPACTS), and development of a National Environmental
Information System (ENSIS). The major focus of this conference will be

presentation of the work and achievements of these two important pilot projects, but
let me first start with some introductory remarks.

After 25 years’ of strong economic growth in China, there are significant
environmental challenges with regard to

local air pollution, acid rain and climate
change. The focus with regard to acid rain is particularily on SO2 and NOx, but also
other substances, originating largely from the coal
based energy sector, industries,
transportation and agriculture.

To achie
ve greening of the economy, capacity building and development of cost
effective strategies are needed. Strengthened environmental monitoring and
information systems are also important parts of this. In China, there is now
attention at top level t
o the issues of sustainable development, as reflected in the
discussions in the National Peoples’ Congress this spring. Premier Wen Jiabao
underlined that there is a need for a more balanced economic growth, paying more
attention to environment and social
development. The challenge is to put the
promising statements into practise.

The IMPACTS and ENSIS pilot projects are important because they have addressed
fundamental issues in the environmental field, in fruitful co
operation between
Chinese and Norwegi
an Partners. These environmental challenges have to be handled
as part of the environmental policy to achieve sustainable solutions in the future. We
need to se a comprehensive approach, not fragmented solutions, to such complicated
issues. Both acid rain
and development of national monitoring and information
systems are complicated tasks, but we should look for high quality solutions with
sustainability and a long life.

We would appreciate to hear about how these pilot projects could be followed up at
e policy level by SEPA and linked to the 11

5 year plan during this conference and
in the follow
up. Research projects should not go on forever, but be integrated in
national programmes and strategies, which is the basic test of viability. With the on
ing work related to the 11

5 year plan this is a good opportunity.

From our point of view these two projects complements each other. IMPACTS
addresses the issues of acid rain being a national priority in China, with a third of the
land affected and the
largest emission sources of SO2 in the world. To develop a
national strategy and policy, both monitoring and data collection need to be of high
quality, to be reliable and of great value. The ENSIS
system can provide a reliable
and efficient information sy
stem aggregating data from local, regional level and up to
the national level. The main challenge is to ensure that these are comparable, reliable
and accurate and that they are handled in a user
friendly way to provide national
environmental information t
o all relevant institutions as well as the public.

If data is “polluted” by unreliable figures, the quality is reduced and thus the
foundation for policy development will be weak and resources wasted. This must be
avoided. Investments in data collection a
nd monitoring are as important as other
infrastructure investments, such as roads and other communication lines in a modern
society. Also in Norway we have made significant investments in most sectors to get
the information systems up and running, includin
g the environmental field. How
should we otherwise be able to develop a sustainable society, without the basic
infrastructure in place? Let me underline that high quality data is important in a
modern management system, and an important foundation for envi
ronmental policy in
general. The ENSIS system has a general application possibility for many
environmental problems.

Acid rain is a major environmental challenge of China. In Europe, there is a long
experience in development of acid rain strategies based

on scientific research. Over
years, we have also experienced that agreements based on equal percentage change is
not cost
effective. Therefore the Gothenburg Protocol was based on a more
comprehensive approach, taking due account to ecological impacts of
acid rain, the
environmental damage as well as cost
effective abatement measures. Such an
approach could cut the costs by 30% compared to an agreement based on equal
percentage reductions.

The ecological impacts approach has been demonstrated at the five

sites of the pilot
project in Guizhou (2 sites), Hunnan, Guangdong and Chongqing. From our point of
view, the approach should preferably also be integrated in the national monitoring
network, become large scale and preferably serve the purposes of develop
ment of a
national acid rain strategy. It is therefore positive step by SEPA to include the pilot
stations in the national monitoring network to ensure sustainability of the stations.

Depositions of SO2 and NOx, but the appearance of other substances in f
ertilizers and
soil as well as transport of desert sand by the wind, are also important when it comes
to the ecological effects. But I will leave the details to be elaborated by the
researchers. The IMPACTS project has aimed at enhancing capacity building
establishment of broad monitoring systems to ensure a broad understanding of
ecological effects through integrated monitoring. With such monitoring, maps of
environmental damage can be developed, and it will become possible to attack the
emission sourc
es by the most cost
effective measures. This is the foundation for a
effective way to develop an acid rain strategy, which is needed due to the high
accumulated costs of environmental damage on the ecosystem and health (13,4 bn

32,5 bn US dollars are

different estimates made by SEPA and the World Bank).
Awareness raising at the national level on the total costs caused by acid rain is
important to achieve stronger support at political level but also from the public.
Furthermore there are also several w
win effects from acid rain abatement
measures, related to both local air pollution and greenhouse gases.

We know that China has good human resources and can be very efficient in
implementation. We also know there are many cost
effective measures that c
an be
taken, that also might contribute to improvement in living conditions and public
health. This is promising. However, we also know that environmental issues are cross
cutting issues, which needs coordination of many ministries and institutions as well

involvement of business, industries and civil society. These are also demanding tasks,
but our experience from Norway and Europe has taught us that information sharing,
dialogue and public participation is also important elements to get all relevant se
involved and to achieve good results.

Environmental issues also need involvement of national, provincial and local
governments, but also business, industries, universities, NGOs and consumers. We
need closer co
operation and more partnerships to pro
mote sustainable development.
The government cannot take care of all responsibilities in this respect, but should
rather provide the right incentives for action, through 11th 5 year plan, laws,
regulations, taxes, standards, public information etc. With th
e strong growth in the
energy sector linked to strong economic growth, there is an urgent need to increase
energy and resource efficiency in the overall economy. A greater focus on investment
requirements to resource efficient technologies in energy sector
, industries and
transportation could be one solution. This will stimulate investment in modern and
efficient technologies, squeeze out inefficient technologies, cool down the overall
economy and ensure that new investments are of high

Summing up
, IMPACTS and ENSIS are two pilot approaches to promote
development of Chinese environmental policy and sustainable development. I would
congratulate especially China Research Academy on Environmental Sciences
(CRAES) together with Interconsult
Norgit (wil
l soon change name to COWI
Norway) and CNEMC for organising this conference in close co
operation with
Foreign Economic Co
operation Office of SEPA and the Norwegian Embassy. I wish
you a most successful conference and that these two important pilot proje
cts might
contribute to result
oriented and cost
effective environmental strategies in China!

Thank you for the attention.