“The average personal income in China has risen by five per cent a year since the mid 1990s. Yet according to experts, this recent wealth does not equate with personal happiness.” (Source: Science Daily)
A new research project confirms that fast economic growth does not automatically translate into more life happiness as rising social inequality and environmental pressures create tensions in Chinese economy.
"China is talking the talk of Corporate Social Responsibility in its 12th 5-year plan. It has even endorsed the UN Guidelines on Business and Human Rights. Simon Zadek argues that the new economic superpower sees a real interest in responsible and clean business, and that deeds will follow the rhetoric" (Source: Open Democracy)
Excellent must-read analysis of China’s efforts to move to a cleaner and greener economy model. Is he painting too much of a rosy picture?
“Leading respiratory disease specialist warns of consequences if government fails to monitor and publicise the dangers of smog…”
This Guardian article confirms another news item published by Xinhua today. "China’s aging population and the deteriorating natural environment will constrain economic growth, Ma Jiantang, head of the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday."
I wonder what the real economic growth figures of China would be if we would substract all “externalities” and “defensive expenditures” to deal with environmental pressures.
Western environmentalists are often pointing to the clean energy leadership of China to convince their own leaders to act faster and clean up their act. The problem is that China’s energy policy also has its dark (coal) side.
Richard Heinberg provides some of the ugly figures behind China’s coal consumption. The country will burn over 4 billion tonnes of coal in 2012 and produces greenhouse gas emissions of over 8.8 billion tonnes.
“Although China has made substantial progress in cleaning up its air pollution,a new MIT study shows that the economic impact from ozone and particulates in its air has increased dramatically.” (Source: Physics.org)
This new MIT study proves that current metrics to measure progress and wellbeing (GDP) need to be seriously overhauled as the costs for cleaning up and human health will be showing up as positives in China’s "wonderful" GDP figures.
"After the failure of Durban, a promising plan B to reducing carbon emissions rests upon green development industrial strategies being pursued by individual countries. And here China is in the vanguard." (Source: OpenDemocracy.net).
Although the story of Chinese "green industry’ leadership might sound attractive to Western "greens", in reality China is just betting on all horses at the same time. It remains locked into the old paradigm of "no-limits" economic and industrial growth. It might in this way win the green competitiveness war, but it will not put the world on the path to the necessary sustainability transition.
“The corridors at Davos are buzzing with discussion over China’s growing commitment to sustainability”, says Peter Lacy in the Guardian .
This analysis by Accenture’s Sustainability Director Peter Lacy disregards a few fundamental aspects of China’s spectacular rise:
- the growing inequality and large pockets of poverty in rural China,
- lack of democracy and respect for human rights,
- resource greed leading to landgrabbing practices in other countries and last but not least
- a missing recognition of the need to develop a global economy within planetary boundaries.
Yes, China is a game-changer but only within the existing “growth first” paradigm. Its green leadership has little to do with recognising limits to growth but with a strong determination and abundant financial resources to dominate the new green industrial markets. The real game-changer for the one-planet economy is still missing.
Michael Klare, author of the insightful book "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet" warns that the Obama administration is trying to contain Chinese power in the Asian Pacific. (Source: Energy Bulletin)
"When it comes to China policy, is the Obama administration leaping from the frying pan directly into the fire? In an attempt to turn the page on two disastrous wars in the Greater Middle East, it may have just launched a new Cold War in Asia — once again, viewing oil as the key to global supremacy."
“With global climate talks set to begin next week, China on Tuesday issued the most comprehensive document yet on its plans and negotiating positions on emissions.” (Source: NY Times)
Unfortunately, this White Paper is in my opinion nothing more than a tactical tool to shift the blame and the responsibility for future big action on the rich, developed countries. China should stop positioning itself as a "developing" country.
“The global dominant narrative about China is wrong, claims Gordon Chang. Don’t expect it to be the ‘pocketbook of last resort’ that will rescue world markets from their current malaise. And don’t expect its remarkable economic growth to continue.”
At Chris Martenson’s blog, China expert Gordon Chang paints a bleak picture of China’s economic future.