A comparative study of developments and policy measures in the Yangtze and Rhine river basins from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD).
The study compares main developments and policy measures since 1950 in relation to the Yangtze and Rhine river basins and maps out the investments needed by 2050 for tackling challenges including pollution, decarbonization, and climate adaptation.
The comparative study describes the developments of habitat themes such as environmental pollution, biodiversity, urbanization, climate adaptation and decarbonization, on a river basin scale. The study identifies relationships and mutual dependencies such as water pollution and hydropower plants that may generate clean energy but adversely affect biodiversity and water safety downstream.
Also linked to river basins is the urbanization that traditionally takes place along rivers. This urbanizaion is inextricably linked to industry and therefore to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In many places, climate change is intensifying the problems surrounding all these issues.
Similar theme, different pace
The study shows that lessons can be drawn from the environment policies on the themes addressed in both basins. In the Rhine basin, the large degree of urbanization started much earlier, which also applies to environmental pollution and to when this was being addressed, and there is currently ample attention for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate adaptation. In contrast, in the Yangtze river basin, urbanization and environmental degradation are more recent and must now be managed at the same time as decarbonization and climate adaptation.
On March 20, 2023, CCICED’s Special Policy Study team on “High-quality development of river basins and adaptation to climate change” held an event at the New York Water Week titled “Managing river basins as a system”. See report of the event (full version and short version) below.
The study represents the views of the authors and not necessarily those of CCICED.