Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Green China

Ask any expat or traveller to this country about what they first notice when they arrive, and if it's a major city, they will most likely answer pollution. As far as I'm concerned, pollution may be what ultimately drives me home to the fresh clean air in southwest Aus. The pollution in Chinese cities regularly gets discussed in overseas press, but less often does the investment in green technology. This is from the Telegraph.

China is on the verge of becoming the world's largest investor in green energy as it struggles to reverse the catastrophic effect its industry has wreaked on the environment. Last year, China spent £6 billion on renewable energy projects, just slightly short of Germany, the world leader. This year, the Communist Party has vowed to redouble its efforts.Li Junfeng, an energy expert at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said that in terms of the "overall scale of renewable energy development", China already leads the way.

Greenpeace believes China can shortly produce half of its energy from renewable sources.
That last sentence is particularly startling. Greenpeace is not the kind of organisation to overstate how well nations do in taking care of their environments.
Tens of thousands of pollution-inspired riots every year have helped drill home the message. The Ministry of Public Security has listed pollution among the top five threats to China's peace and stability. Two years ago, the government publicly admitted that the Chinese landscape was "chu mu jing xin" or "whatever meets the eye is shocking".
When you also factor in the one-child policy, which had already resulted in hundreds of millions less consumers being born, one would suggest that China does in fact punch above its weight in terms of developing long-term sustainable energy consumption practices. That's not to say it's above robust criticism at times, but it's definitely a poignant implied critique of developed democratic energy hogs like the good ole US of A.

No comments: