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China establishes green finance zones to kickstart war on pollution

China is launching five pilot projects with financial institutions in Guangdong, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Xinjiang.

Each one will focus on new financial products and services, such as investment funds, credit options, emissions trading, water-use permits and green insurance.

China has experienced ups and downs in combatting air, water and soil pollution (a recent study found soil and water pollution worsened in 2016 over 2015).

The effort is expected to cost the country $440 billion per year and the government is hoping private sector green finance will cover a shortfall from national and provincial-level funding.

In the heavy industrial area of Guangdong, the government wants to see new credit options focused on energy conservation and emissions reductions emerge, whereas in the agricultural region of Guizhou, the focus of the pilot will be financing agricultural waste treatment.

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