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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Juggling Environment With Growth

People's Daily:

China's Environment"China should balance economic growth with environmental protection to avoid repeating the 'first pollute, then control' mode, said Xu Kuangdi, president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), on Monday. "

China's phenomenal growth is not without it's drawbacks. One is the effect that industrialisation is having on the environment; land degradation, air and water pollution, all these are already monumental problems and given that China wishes to quadruple it's economy by 2020 not likely to get any better without some significant policies and actions implemented now.

China relies for 75% of it's fuel requirements on coal burning and one only has to have a look at Europe and particularly England in the 19th century to understand the effects of a coal fueled economy. As well the country is grossly inefficient in it's energy usage thus compounding the potential problems.

Whilst the Government is implementing cleaner energy sources such as hydro and atomic energy the fact is that for the foreseeable future coal will remain a mainstay energy supply.

The linked article cites the president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering drawing attention to the potential problems and offering generalised solutions.

He focuses rightly so on the efficient use of energy as being one thing that must be addressed to avoid what well could be an environmental tragedy. But it can not be the only solution, energy management can only go so far. China must reduce it's reliance on fossil fuels particularly coal which is far and away a "dirtier" source even than oil derived fuels. How it can do this I have not a clue.

I do not think however that it can be done to a degree to counter the negative environmental effects of the proposed economic growth. If this is the case than China is going to face one huge problem come 2020.

Linked Article Read Rating: Worthwhile