Thursday, May 22, 2008

China's environment

As I have posted before the environmental situation in China is currently very bad. China burns 1/3 of the world's coal and a recent report estimated that 750,000 people per year die through the effects of pollution in China. China is already the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions - a leadership role that is likely to become more pronounced as demands for refrigeration, air conditioners and automobiles increase from low current levels.

But as this article in The Atlantic makes clear, the local situation is improving in some respects and China is serious about climate change. It is important in the west to acknowledge such improvements - and indeed to nurture them - if the right types of political signals are to be set in motion within China. The situation remains awful but is improving and the Chinese seem to want international approval and recognition for their efforts rather than ongoing condemnation.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in Hong Kong and as I look across the Lamma channel (one of the busiest shipping channels in the world) from my office window I can't see Lamma Island (about 2 km away). And this is not the "bad" season yet....that comes from Nov-Feb when the winds shift and everything is blown from Guangdong province toward and over HK. You are right, the Chinese do care about pollution and are doing their best which most people in HK wld say is not good enough or fast enough. The major problem is "dirty" power generation. Lots of old polluting generators using dirty coal produces massive amounts of pollution. They need to switch to nuclear (good if you own shares in BHP.....Olympic Dam) quicky all over the country (maybe not Sichuan?). Geoff.

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