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Inside the env‘iron’ment curtain
Chinese banks finance projects caring two hoots for environment
While Chinese banks have now literally got immune to the condemnation and slamming by global environment activists for financing environmentally perilous and conflict-ridden projects at home and outside the country, what may hurt them financially is that their poor environmental financing standards are now affecting their competitive advantage. A recent report published by the leading international NGO, BankTrack, reveals that only two out of top ten banks, China Development Bank (CDB) and Export and Import Bank of China (Chexim) have a semblance of transparency in environmental policies. But even in the case of these two, the records are not anything to write home about. For example, the South-To-North Water Diversion Project in China will displace not less than 400,000 people. Simultaneously, the project would do irreparable harm to ecology. But its maximum financiers are CDB (having given RMB 21.3 billion), China Construction Bank (RMB 8.5 billion) and Bank of China (RMB 6 billion) among others. In the same league, the Marowe Dam project, a hydro-power project in Sudan, will displace 50,000 persons, making it difficult for them to fish and fetch water, can also raise the risk of incidence water-borne diseases, and will destroy spawning areas for fish and other aquatic life. Chexim financed $387 million for the project in spite of being fully aware of environmental problems of the project. Green groups like Friends of Earth and BankTrack have also been severely critical of Chinese banks for financing controversial iron ore mines in Gabon and nickel mines in Papua New Guinea. And one hasn’t even talked about China’s ‘disaster in waiting’ dams! Will the unprecedented Chinese economic success eventually prove to be an apocalypse for Earth? Start running...
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