|Title||Environmental Justice and Sustainability Impact Assessment: In Search of Solutions to Ethnic Conflicts Caused by Coal Mining in Inner Mongolia, China|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Liu L, Liu J, Zhang Z|
|Keywords||China, environmental impact assessment, Environmental Justice, ethnic conflict, public participation, sustainability impact assessment|
The Chinese government adopted more specific and stringent environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines in 2011, soon after the widespread ethnic protests against coal mining in Inner Mongolia. However, our research suggests that the root of the ethnic tension is a sustainability problem, in addition to environmental issues. In particular, the Mongolians do not feel they have benefited from the mining of their resources. Existing environmental assessment tools are inadequate to address sustainability, which is concerned with environmental protection, social justice and economic equity. Thus, it is necessary to develop a sustainability impact assessment (SIA) to fill in the gap. SIA would be in theory and practice a better tool than EIA for assessing sustainability impact. However, China’s political system presents a major challenge to promoting social and economic equity. Another practical challenge for SIA is corruption which has been also responsible for the failing of EIA in assessing environmental impacts of coal mining in Inner Mongolia. Under the current political system, China should adopt the SIA while continuing its fight against corruption.