Summary: A key piece of the doomsters’ “world ending” story is that the leaders of China are fools, not seeing or acting to address their economic problems — and especially the pollution produced by their decades of rapid growth. As this report by Stratfor shows, they’re not fools — and they are taking bold steps to fix their ecology. (First of two posts today.)
Red China Goes Green
Stratfor, 17 March 2017.
- Because stricter environmental policies align with its strategic goals, Beijing may be able to accelerate the pace of its environmental reforms.
- Enforcing environmental policies across the country’s diverse regions, however, will continue to pose a challenge for Beijing as each province and municipality weighs the risks and rewards of compliance.
- The central government will use its growing role in international climate change policy and renewable technology to reinforce its position as a world leader.
China’s economic growth over the past four decades has been staggering. The environmental damage it has caused is no less impressive.
China is dealing with widespread pollution problems, from thick smog in the northeast to contaminated water and soil throughout the country. But now a combination of domestic pressures and geopolitical strategy has put environmental issues at the top of the Chinese government’s priorities. In the past three years, and particularly since the release of the 13th Five Year Plan in 2016, Beijing has started rolling out stricter environmental policies. The transition is hardly surprising, following decades of rapid industrialization and coinciding with the emergence of a new middle class and a shift in the Chinese economy. It will, however, be challenging. The country’s vast territory and regional diversity make enforcing national laws at the local level an uphill battle. Even so, the strategic gains that stricter environmental policies promise — both domestically and internationally — could help Beijing speed the process along.