China Takes a Major Step Toward Sustainability

There was an incredible article in the NYT on 2/28/11:

The article said, “China’s environment minister on Monday issued an unusually stark warning about the effects of unbridled development on the country’s air, water and soil, saying the nation’s current path could stifle long-term economic growth and feed social instability…’ Ignoring such risks’, Mr. Zhou said, ‘would be perilous’… ‘In China’s thousands of years of civilization, the conflict between humankind and nature has never been as serious as it is today,” he wrote. “The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the worsening ecological environment have become bottlenecks and grave impediments to the nation’s economic and social development.’ ”

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said, “We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption.”

This is a statement that could have come right out of the book Limits to Growth. That is, note the emphasis on the role of rapid growth and industrial overcapacity.

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One Response to China Takes a Major Step Toward Sustainability

  1. Venturer says:

    I look forward to going to China because I enjoy working with the enthusiastic people but it is the water and air pollution there that make me look forward to returning to the United States. It is almost impossible to find a body of clear clean natural water. China has paid a huge environmental price for their remarkable economic development. They will be attempting to clean it up for generations to come. While this may be unconscionable, we must keep in mind that Americans cannot comprehend the size of the challenge that China faced 30 years ago, with four of them to every one of us, and all of them trapped in poverty. They flipped the switch from communism to a market-based economy and are understandably still trying to find a balance between the costs and the benefits of their decision. One thing is clear: They set goals and they act quickly to achieve them. If they set their collective mind to rectifying their environmental mess, they will do it.

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