China has unveiled its newly created Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), which has consolidated staff and functions from a number of other ministries into a single location, and replaces the former Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China body. The move was signalled by China’s general secretary, Xi Jinping, in the opening speech of the 19th National Congress last Autumn (EA 26-Oct-17).
The new department has seen its staff ranks increase from 300 to 500 and has been given a broader remit with functions including: climate change and emissions reduction policies; environmental monitoring; air/water/soil pollution; ecological/marine conservation, nuclear safety and radiation safety, amongst others.
Li Ganjie has been appointed Minister of Ecology and Environment.
In the 2018 Government Work Plan released last month, China highlighted its intent to close inefficient coal and steel plants, boost the country’s electric car fleet, banning waste imports, and strengthen pollution standards and enforcement.
The move comes in stark contrast with the US where President Trump is proposing further sharp cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget (EA 13-Feb-18) and rolling back environmental regulations including former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (EA 12-Oct-17).