Monday, June 20, 2005

Green Rise for China?

Green Car Congress has a good post talking about China's possibility for a "Green Rise", the idea being that China will lead the world in environmentalism because it has no other choice. This is yet another iteration of the Iron Denominator - how does the loot get divvied up among 1.5 billion people?
During this seventh meeting, Pan Yue, deputy director of the SEPA, noted that China has “paid a high environmental price” in becoming the biggest manufacturer in the world after experiencing rapid economic development over the past 20 years.

"The pollution load of China will quadruple in 2020 when the country’s GDP quadruples if the pace of pollution remains unchanged."

By then, China will only have six out of its current 45 major mineral resources, according to Pan.
I know a lot of people mocked Paul Ehrlich's prediction that we'd be facing major mineral shortages by 1990, but just because he was wrong then, doesn't mean he'd be wrong now. You've all heard the numbers - to give each human an American standard of living, we'd need three Earths. That leaves us two short, in case you're counting.

Continuing in the realm of basic math, at a certain point we do hit the limits of nature, and if we aren't ready for it, we face the very real possibility of billions of dead. I don't think Hubbert's Peak is that moment, unlike certain people, but it's not like Hubbert's Peak is the only shortage we face.

This is all a way of saying that, despite some pessimism about the Communist Party's ability to foster innovation, I really, really hope that China and the world can manage a Green Rise.

2 comments:

Paulina said...

Let's just hope not to ever see ourselves to be in the same spot. Thanks.

Shamrocks! said...

I was just in Beijing last week, and if they are going to manage a "Green Rise" it won't be anytime soon. They are hell bent on developing as quickly as possible...

Besides the fact that the air all the way to the Great Wall is under a thick layer of smog, Beijing has a policy of letting anything with a wheel roll through its streets...There's no air care that's for sure.