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China’s Solutions To Its Many Environmental Problems

China’s Solutions To Its Many Environmental Problems

 

China has major environmental problems, as a new Worldwatch Institute report details. The number one emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, China deals with major pollution. Seven Chinese cities made the list of the top ten most polluted places on earth. Every year, China loses 10 million tons of grain production a year due to pollution.

“In 2005, water in 59 percent of rivers was undrinkable, along with 70 percent of water reserves and inland lakes, and one quarter of all aquifers polluted with more than half of urban aquifers heavily polluted,” according to the report.

The report also chronicles China’s solutions to its environmental problems. One of the solutions China is pursuing is forestation. As the report states, “nourishing these forested areas is vital for sustaining the country’s green transition.”

China depends heavily on coal, and the rapid pace that its people are buying cars means it is also heavily dependent on oil. China is investing and rapidly expanding solar hot water, solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power. They are expected to add 220 million new vehicles between now and 2020, but alternatively fueled vehicles are rapidly expanding. In mid-2010, there were 5,000 alternatively fueled vehicles in China. If the government continues to make developing alternatively fueled vehicles a priority from now until 2020, cumulative production could be 16.7 million, or an average of 1.67 million a year.

China is rapidly expanding its public transportation. China leads the world in high-speed rail (HSR) development. The government’s goal is to have 18,000 kilometers of HSR by 2020. Beijing plans to complete 660 kilometers of urban rail lines by 2015, and build 340 kilometers more from 2016 to 2020.

Chinese carbon caps

A Chinese government official announced that China will soon begin a campaign to limit the amount of GHG emissions by certain industries, China Daily reports. Sun Zhen, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission, said regional cap-and-trade schemes will be introduced by 2013.

“Throughout the country, we have adopted a plan for reducing releases of carbon: to substantially cut our carbon emissions for each unit of economic output,” Sun told China Daily at a symposium on climate change in Beijing last week.

“But when it comes to actually reducing the emissions of certain business, that calls for limiting the absolute quantity of emissions,” Sun said.

“Setting limits on the absolute amounts of carbon that can be emitted will make it possible to carry out trades of emission credits,” Sun added.

China plans to reduce carbon emissions 40 to 45 percent below its 2005 level for each unit of its GDP by 2020.

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Photo: Flickr user, gzlu

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44 comments

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9:36AM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

I pity the poor chines people that suffer from all this pollution, for which the western countries have a big share of responsibility.

5:48AM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

It seems big oil is having to much fun tanking the economy every other year with another oil shortage to ever consider switching the bio-diesel from algae. I wonder if maybe China would be willing to take on bringing bio-diesel from algae from pilot plant stage to commercial production. MAYBE they can solve that part of the need to transition from fossil fuel to sustainable energy,

11:53PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

How can we persuade the Chinese to avoid buying cars? The potential climate changing emissions from these vehicles seems concerning.

8:46PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Simon V., thank you for the Green Star and your comment. I always like to read your experiential and well research contributions. Thank you also, for the informative comments you've posted on your profile page. There is always something new and valuable.

3:26AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

I have to tell you also why in the present day and age, the world has suddenly begun to see the muslims and chinese as enemies? P. Huntington wrote a long time back a book called "clash of civilisations." In this he argued the case that the times for traditional territorial wars was over, now civilisations will clash with each other. he identified the number of different civilisations that have existed and are now extinct as well the ones that are still around. According to the him these civilisations can be assimilated into the present day American christian civilisation without much adjustment or friction except for two that he pointed out. One was the muslim civilisation and the other was the confucion civilisation of China. And he argues these two have a distinct identity of their own and will pose problems accepting some other culture, social values, philosophy etc into them.

And therefore these two civilisations would hinder the object of one world order or one international culture and social value system. I am sure it isn't a huge stretch of imagination to see that muslims have been bombed into submission now more or less. consider Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, threats to Iran, Abandonment of Somalia, ignoring Palestineans and so on.

3:24AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Another propaganda post to convince the world that China is the monster now (after muslims), violating civil human rights. And no doubt US would be the champion, the knight in shinning armour, to recue the world from all tyranny and anyone else's economic superiority.

A case is being prepared slowly against China as was done with other lesser nations with Oil. Henceforth you will hear, read and see everywhere on media that China is taking your jobs, your money, work and all the happiness related with it until your fraustration from unemployment, poor financial health and so on reaches a high and you demand your government to drop an A-Bomb on these people or something.

9:10PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Not sure if this is good news or not. There are TOO MANY people on the planet and we are ALL taking a toll on Mother Earth.

9:00PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Its not that China is more cruel it is the whole Asian belief that an animal is judged by how good it tastes and how many people it feeds. This is the prevalent mindset.

8:04PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Some people here mentioned animals. A lot of people think of China as an evil country but it has a per-capita consumption of fossil fuels and meat that is much lower than that of the United States of America. The people of China are probably no more cruel than those of the USA, the UK or Australia; it is just that the cruelty is not hidden from the public. There is an emerging animal-rights movement in China. Instead of boycotting Chinese products, I would rather know what the people of China want in order to improve human and animal rights. According to some journalists, modern consumer society is actually more effective at silencing freedom of speech than either communism or fascism. I also know that by comparing my life in Australia, where I willingly went along with the ratrace and never had time for activism, to that of Croatia (that used to be part of communist Yugoslavia, and has had right-wing governmemts) but it is now one of the first countries to ban fur-farming, and it is relatively easy to get animal and ecological issues covered by the media.

6:43PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Now if only they'd treat their animals with some compassion. China is hell for animals.

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