Farmer in China

Less than three weeks ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), 29 Chinese ministries jointly released the China National Sustainable Development Report. 

For decades, China's miraculous economic development has been haunted by an environment nightmare: one in every four Chinese people now has to drink substandard tap water, and in 2011 alone, environmental disasters cost the country 2.6 trillion yuan in economic loss.

What is missing is not strong political will from Beijing but concrete actions at lower levels that will lead to actual changes. Rio+20 is a reminder for Chinese policy makers at all levels that time waits for no one in the race against a fast deteriorating environment.