BEIJING -- Environmental pollution caused China to suffer 511.8 billion yuan
(about US$64 billion) in economic losses in 2004, which amounted to 3.05 percent
of GDP that year, according to a government research report released on
It is China's first research report on China's "green national economy", also
called "green GDP", which is calculated by subtracting the cost of natural
resources used and the cost of environmental degradation from the GDP.
"This marks only the beginning of our efforts in Green GDP calculation. Our
formula is still not complete and we have to keep working hard to improve it,"
said Pan Yue, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA), at a press conference in Beijing.
The report was jointly released by the SEPA and the National Bureau of
The "Green GDP" calculation system is based on the cost of using five kinds
of natural resources - land, minerals, forest, water and fisheries - and the
cost of two kinds of environmental degradation - environmental pollution and
"Owing to technological limitations we only calculated the cost of 10 of 20
items of environmental pollution this time," said Pan, noting the cost of
underground water pollution and soil pollution was not included.
"If all the factors are taken into account, you can imagine how serious the
loss caused by environmental pollution actually is," said Pan.
According to the report, the cost of water pollution is 286.3 billion yuan,
air pollution 219.8 billion yuan and solid waste pollution and pollution
accidents 5.7 billion yuan.
Wang Jingnan, chief engineer of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning
and a key player in the research, said China needs to make about 1.08 trillion
yuan of direct investment, mainly for construction of facilities, and shoulder
287.4 billion yuan of operational costs, to have industrial pollutants and
household waste produced in 2004 treated completely.
Officials with SEPA and NBS said in the next step, the two departments will
improve the calculation methods and carry out "Green GDP" calculation on a
The environmental department will conduct a nationwide survey of pollution
sources, underground water pollution, soil pollution and ecological