China had a cruddy eco-year, still sees big picture more clearly than the U.S.

In China, officials are assessing their 2006 eco-successes. The short version: there were none. The somewhat longer version: the country saw a pollution-related accident roughly every two days. Officials got 600,000 environmental complaints, 30 percent more than in 2005. Goals to improve efficiency by 4 percent and cut emissions by 2 percent were missed by all but six provinces or municipalities in the first half of the year; full stats aren’t out yet. Industry flouted laws, building facilities without approval and dumping toxic waste. It was, says State Environmental Protection Administration Deputy Director Pan Yue, “the most grim year for China’s environmental situation.” On the upside, the agency announced it won’t OK new power plants by four leading utilities until current projects are brought up to snuff. Oh wait, that won’t … uh … well, SEPA also said the “environmental problem has become a key bottleneck for social and economic development.” Recognizing those ties? Priceless.