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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

China's Growing Environmental Problems

China is growing fast, but its environmental problems may be growing even faster. According to Thomas Friedman, the only solution is an integrated world solution where large countries such as the U.S. and China cooperate to avoid impending global environmental disaster. But the more difficult question, the mechanism through which the cooperation will occur, is not addressed beyond the call to bring "business, government and N.G.O.'s together to produce a more sustainable form of development." Cooperative government environmental policy among countries might have a chance, but it's difficult to imagine steps being taken in that direction under current administration policy:

Living Hand to Mouth, by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: ...Not only is China not a communist country anymore, but it may also now be the world's most capitalist country in terms of raw energy. ... But can anything stop Chinese capitalism? Yes, Chinese capitalism. Other than political breakdown, the biggest threat to China's growth is now the environment. ... China's leaders know this and have been taking steps to reverse deforestation and find alternatives to the coal-powered electricity plants ... But ... the legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party rests largely on its ability to keep raising living standards, it can't afford a recession ... officials will always choose raw growth. ... Tighter regulation alone won't save China's environment, or the world's. Since logging in most natural forests was banned here in 1998, China's appetite for imported wood has led to stripped forests in Russia, Africa, Burma and Brazil. China outsourced its environmental degradation. That is why you need an integrated solution. ... to produce a more sustainable form of development - so China can create a model for itself and others on how to do more things with less stuff and fewer emissions. That is the economic, environmental and national security issue of our day...

    Posted by on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 12:10 AM in China, Economics, Environment | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (5)


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