CHINA WATCH A year after first posting an estimate of the cost of environmental damage relative to GDP – a co-called green GDP – Beijing has decided to pull the plug on releasing updated figures. The reason, it seems, is that the figures don’t portray the country in a great light, especially in the run up to the 2008 Olympics.
The Wall Street Journal says that the last study showed that pollution and other damage cost the Chinese economy some $64 billion at 2004’s exchange rates–or about 3.05% of GDP. The updated study, which was supposed to be released around about now, obviously doesn’t show that figure moving in the right direction.
To be fair though, few places do publish such figures — partly because it’s so complicated to figure out exactly how you count such things (dirtier rivers, worsening air quality, and so on).