The evidence shows that China is waking up sooner than Western countries did after their industrial revolutions. China now leads the world in hydroelectric power providing 20% of the country’s power. China has made it a priority to use hydroelectric power to reduce pollution in the future. Chine also plans to lead the world in solar cell and wind turbine production.
China plans to relocate 15,000 citizens from an area poisoned by lead (due to manufacturing) that would cost the government 146 million dollars or one billion yuan.
In August 2009, two chemical factory officials were convicted of releasing carbolic acid into a river and they were sentenced to prison terms of 6 and 11 years. In the past, such acts usually resulted in little more than a fine. Recently, Chinese authorities made it clear that China is entering a new era in environmental enforcement.
In April 2009, China’s leaders announced a plan to turn the country into the leading producer of hybrid and all-electric cars in three years. In addition, subsidies of up to $8,800 are being offered to taxi fleets and local government agencies in 13 Chinese cities for each hybrid or all-electric vehicle purchased. The state electricity grid has been ordered to set up electric car charging stations in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.
One goal is to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent. Another is to close down polluting factories including the heaviest polluting coal power plants. The plan is to switch those plants from coal to natural gas something that is also being considered in the United States. China is also building nuclear power plants with plans for thirty in the next fifteen years.
Another goal is to increase the amount of land covered by forests from 28 percent to 30 percent over a five-year period. If you have traveled extensively in China recently, you may have witnessed this taking place. We have.
I am optimistic. Considering that the Chinese built the Great Wall and the Grand Canal more than two thousand years ago, I predict that the Chinese will do this too, but it will take time–maybe decades to reverse a trend started by the rest of the world hundreds of years before China became the world’s factory floor.
At the Copenhagen environmental conference, China sounded like the bad guy in the Western media—as usual. You may want to read this piece to find out more at Guardian.com.uk
Also, consider that the call to have China policed by the world to make sure they cut back on carbon emissions as they said they would was a slap saying, “We don’t trust you?” That’s a loss of face and embarrassing to the Chinese. If China made it public that they are going to cut back a certain amount of carbon emissions by a certain date and they do not, that will also be a loss of face. There’s a good chance that they will cut more than they pledged. Let’s wait and see.
Return to Where Did All That Pollution Come From
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.
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