China’s Green Revolution

Green Leaf
Green Power

China, as an emerging superpower, is also said to be emerging as one of the biggest polluters of the environment. The industrialisation and modernisation of China in particular is of great concern for climate change / global warming, as China looks scheduled to overtake the United States as “the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide”. Gary Dirks and David G Victor, in Newsweek’s Special Edition – Issues 2010, suggests that China is making attempts to go green, not just to allay global concerns but to allay domestic concerns as well.

China is concerned about its growth, not so much because it is bothered by how other countries (both developing and developed) perceive it. It is more because of the environmental problems that have plagued its growth that makes it realise the importance of being green. “Severe pollution and worries over dependence on fossil fuels” are just some problems of national security that concern the Chinese government, and it is doing what it can by enhancing energy-efficiency and attempting to move away from fossil fuels. It cannot probably move away entirely from coal because of its abundance and cheap price, but China is making efforts to make coal “less polluting”.

China is also investing in new technologies, such as clean renewable energy research, that could potentially open up a new market for such products as well as cement China’s position as an industrial leader in a new field that is yet untapped fully in most other countries. The Telegraph in an earlier article in May observes some changes to what China is doing in this new field. However, China would require the help of other developed countries in the West in managing its research and development.

All these will add up to “a massive impact on greenhouse-gas pollution”, and such efforts are certainly laudable and commendable. It is, however, important, for China to lead not just locally but globally. As a rising superpower, it is “ready to lead when it starts playing offense in climate talks as well as defense”, and China needs to prove that “it can cut emissions”, which will then assuage global concerns as well as debunk the West’s “excuse for doing nothing” because of “Chinese inaction”.

Other writers and newspapers have weighed it on China’s “Green Revolution”. The Guardian details some targets set by Chinese officials on adoption of renewable energy sources, while Thomas Friedman in The New York Times writes about how “red China” is becoming “green China”. There appears to be much regarding what China is doing for the environment, even if it might seem miniscule, so the United States should certainly do its part and contribute more than “business as usual”, given its current superpower status (which it might soon lose to China if it does nothing to stem the decline).

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