China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, March 15, 2007

China’s Environmental Future

Mike Treder

Mike Treder

Responsible Nanotechnology

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies


Randall Parker at Future Pundit wrote an important and insightful article a few days ago about ”Asian Air Pollution.”

He points out that many South Asian countries—especially China—are growing so fast, industrializing so fast, and urbanizing so fast that they are polluting more heavily and more widely than any population has ever done before.

It’s common to hear people talk about the amazing growth of the Chinese economy, and to assess the potential ascendancy of China as an economic superpower competing with, or even overtaking, the United States. But will that scenario actually come to pass? Or will the looming difficulties of critically bad air, water, and soil pollution be enough to slow down the Asian juggernaut?

In our ongoing CRN Global Task Force Scenario Project, workshop participants often bring up China’s economy, China’s military, and China’s increasing technological prowess as vital factors to consider in creating plausible stories about the next 10 to 20 years. Conventional wisdom seems to say that if China and the other rapidly expanding South Asian economies are confronted with severe environmental hardships, it’s not likely to occur soon enough or be serious enough to derail their race to the top.

That is probably the case. But considering the amount of pollution they are producing, and taking into account our incomplete understanding of complex ecological systems, it would not surprise me if those problems grow faster than most people anticipate.

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