Pollution in China Costs 10% of GDP


The Shanghai Daily, via ChinaDaily, reports that the deputy chief of the State Environmental Protection Agency, Zhu Guangyao, estimates that environmental damage and pollution are costing the government roughly 10% of China's gross domestic product each year (around US$200 billion right now) and that the country's worsening environmental picture "allows for no optimism". China probably doesn't listen to our advice, but just in case it did: You have to realize that opposing "economic development" to "environmental protection" is not necessary and will inevitably lead to a worsening situation. You are in a position to get it right the first time (leapfrog directly to sustainable technologies), unlike the Western world, and develop with the carrying capacity of the ecosystems that keep us alive in mind. Of course, this is not only China: Every country must do that, especially the rich ones that have the resources and technology to move fast in that direction if they wanted to. It's not a matter of choice, they - and we - can't go in two opposite directions at once and hope that we'll be able to superficially clean up the symptoms of deeper problems later. That kind of thinking has proved ineffective so far and things are just getting worse now that population increase, the industrialization of more regions of the world and technological development are increasing our impact on nature to unprecedented levels; we need to replace broken systems instead of just applying duct tape. Albert Einstein said: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." China, and everybody else, needs to understand that. ::ChinaDaily


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