China: A Filthy Growth Engine

That's the cutline in the Business Week 11 April edition, not your garden variety enviro-mag. According to the article:
-70% of China's energy needs come from coal.
-regulation is non-existent or ignored.
-the consumer boom is stoking an appetite for cars and air conditioners , few of which meet even China's minimal efficiency rules.

But the most disturbing statistic: China spends three times the world average on energy, and seven times what Japan spends, to produce $1 of gross domestic product. Here we depart from the article and weigh the implications of this. For every dollar of domestic production that we shut down in North America and export to China, three times as much fossil fuel is burned and three times as much greenhouse gases created. All this so that it can be exported back as a cheap product to be sold at Wal-Mart and Home Depot for less and keep our inflation down and our economy growing.

America should have signed the Kyoto accord. It would have been easy to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets without doing much at all- just continue exporting the entire manufacturing base to China and the greenhouse gases go with it.

So, here is the Treehugger tip of the day: buy local. You may have to breathe a little more pollution from local manufacturing, but at least you can do something about it, and at least there will still be people here who know how to make things.

:: Business Week
will probably require an onerous but free online [LA]


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