Greening China

I’d been thinking over the last few days about a post featuring green developments in the world’s fastest-growing economy; I should just assume that means that WorldChanging would beat me to the punch.

As China goes, so goes the future.

A successful bright green world requires a green China. A China that continues to spew tons of coal smoke into the air, tear up the landscape for dams and minerals, and push the adoption of the automobile as a “pillar industry” is a China that could drive the world past the environmental tipping point, regardless of the efforts of the rest of the planet. A year or two ago, the likelihood of Chinese leaders seeing this disaster unfolding and changing direction in time seemed slim. Now, we may well see a glimmer of hope.

The last month or so brought us a bonanza of reports about the new choices the Chinese leadership is making regarding the environment. Some are doubtlessly motivated by wanting to look good for the 2008 Olympics. But many of the proposals look to be the kinds of steps necessary for China to head off further environmental disaster — big, risky steps, with the possibility of significant benefit should they succeed.

Jamais gives a thorough overview of recent green developments in China. I find the experimentation with a “green GDP” model particularly exciting. China’s got a lot of problems, no doubt, and much of their economic development is far from sustainable. But, they’re thinking about and playing with greener ways of doing business and growing their economy, something we can only hope for currently from our government in the US.

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