My first stop when I came back to Beijing was to meet with our partners at the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning, who we collaborated with on the “Towards a China Environmental Performance Index” project. I was excited to hear about all of the progress they’ve made in trying to move Chinese environmental policymaking on a more data-driven path. You can read about their updates here. In summary, they are making progress on these fronts:

–  Efforts to increase government environmental performance assessments.

The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection is proposing a China Environmental Performance Assessment System for implementation of the“12th Five-Year Plan,” which establishes policy goals and governs development programs for China from 2011-2015, and plans to increase the number and diversity of environmental health indicators measured at the provincial level.

–  Efforts to monitor the impact of Chinese corporations on the environment.

Chinese researchers, in cooperation with the government of Sweden, are developing a corporate environmental performance assessment indicator system, which will soon focus on 100 listed firms for a pilot study.

–  Efforts to track and improve the quality of life in China’s large cities.

The Chinese government is cooperating with the United Nations Environment Program to develop a China Pollution Reduction Performance Assessment research program, which will soon evaluate the pollution reduction performance of four pilot Chinese cities. There are, additionally, growing civil society and quasi-governmental programs seeking to assess the environmental quality of China’s cities, including the Asian Development Bank’s “China Environmental Livable Index of Cities,” the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Asian Green Cities Index, and The People’s Republic of China Urban Knowledge Hub.