Sleeping Giant A glimpse into Chinaâ€™s past, present and future Aishwarya Venkat GEOG 3104 Portfolio Spring 2014
Front cover image: The Great Wall of China. Source: LiveLingua Back cover image: A boy swims in the algae-filled coastline of Qingdao, Shandong province. Source: Business Insider
Contents Demographics…………………………………………………………………………………..…………… Migration and Urbanization ……………………………………………………..……………………… Agriculture and Food……………………...………………………………………….…………………… Land Use Management…………………………………...……………………...…………………..…… Forced Resettlement…………………..…………………………………………………………………… Ecological Threats ……………………………...…………………………………………..……………… Public Health…………………………………...…….……………………………….….…….…………… Water…………………………………...……………….………..………………………...………………… Environmental Justice…………………..…………………………………………….…………………… The Gendered Environment…………………...………………………………………………………… Geopolitical Issues…………………………………...…………………………….……….……………… Natural Hazards …………………………………...……………..……………….………..……………… Climate Change…………………………………...………………………………………...…...………… Energy Resources …………………………………...…………………………………...……………...… Sustainability…………………………………...………………………………………..………...…………
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Demographics The People’s Republic of China has a total population of 1.35 billion, the largest of any country in the world1. Han Chinese form the ethnic majority, comprising 91.6% of the population, but various minorities also exist, such as Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uighur and Tujia1. Overall, China represents over 1/5th of today’s global population3. China’s demographic is significantly influenced by its One Child Policy, instituted in 19793. This ruling states that every Chinese couple may only have one child. Ethnic minorities, and rural couples whose first child was a girl were allowed to have two children. This policy has predictably changed the future of China— with the smaller, younger population, there is now a decline in the supply of young labor. The policy also resulted in a long-term reduction in fertility, which may result in grave consequences for China’s future4. The Chinese government has changed these regulations in light of this impending “demographic precipice”; the One Child Policy has now been modified so that a couple is allowed to have two children if either parent is an only child. This relaxation is expected to increase the urban youth population, resulting in 1-2 million extra births per year3.
Source: CIA Factbook
burden—the smaller, younger population, will have to provide for a significant percent of the elderly4. A topheavy population has financial consequences as well—the people aged 30-50 years, the highest savers, is expected to drop from 50 to 40% by 20304. Thus, overall savings are projected to decline, shifting China form a net-saving to a net-consuming country. The percentage of young workers also declines as a result of this burden, resulting in a shift from the “Made in China” model Source: The Economist of growth4. China’s future youth will be better educated and more skilled, These changing policies have also and thus the country is slated for an 4 affected the gender balance in China . economic shift as a direct consequence The country’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR, of its demographic changes2. number of births per female), is between 1.5-1.6, much less than the average global replacement rate of 2.14. The 1 "East and Southeast Asia: China." The sex ratio at birth was about 117.7 boys World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agenfor every 100 girls in 2012. This excy, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <https:// treme skew towards male children re- www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world sults in as many as 25.4 million excess -factbook/geos/ch.html>. males under 15, and 51.5 million males 2 Wang, Feng. "China's Demographic overall2. There are, and will be, fewer Trend Reshapes Its Economic Future." The women to bear children, and women of Brookings Institution. The Brookings Instichildbearing age are having fewer chil- tutionj, June 2012. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. <http://www.brookings.edu/research/ dren. This demographic shift is also affected by urbanization, changing Chi- articles/2012/06/china-demographicsnese social norms, extreme rural pov- wang>. 3 "Issues and Trends in China's Demoerty, and social stigmas3. History | Asia for Educators | CoChina’s last and perhaps most signifi- graphic lumbia University." Asia for Educators. cant challenge is its elder- Columbia University, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. ly4. As total fertility de- 2014. <http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ creases and birth rates special/china_1950_population.htm>. fall, populations live long- 4 "The Most Surprising Demographic Crier. Due to rapid develop- sis." The Economist. The Economist Newsment, it took China all of paper, 07 May 2011. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. 50 years to increase life <http://www.economist.com/ expectancy from 40 to 70 node/18651512>. years2. Within the next 30 years, the 65+ age cohort will comprise 25% of the total population. This results in a demographic 4
Migration and Urbanization Urbanization is driving force of economic development in China. In 1950, only 13% of the Chinese population lived in cities; by 2010, this percentage was about 45%, and is projected to reach 60% by 20209. China is home to 25 of the world’s 100 megacities9. Urbanization has allowed China to lift millions of people out of poverty, and providing more people with infrastructure, medicine, jobs, and other opportunities and services5. Yet, the scale of urbanization undertaken by the government, and the related socio-political and environmental consequences are of concern5,6. Financing this urbanization is an ongoing concern for the Chinese government. In its National New-type Urbanization Plan 2014-2020, China’s Ministry of Finance recently announced a price tag of 42 trillion yuan ($6.8 trillion) to bring an additional few hundred million people into cities within the next seven years8. This plan aims to increase the urbanized Chinese population from 53.7% now to 60% in 20208. China has historically relied on land conversion and land financing, butThe World Bank and other international organizations are now pushing for financing through local revenues, property taxes and adequate charges for urban services8.
Source: The Economist
Migration is thus a cause and effect of rapid urbanization. Migration in China is characterized by movement from farmlands for urban areas, and from central/western to eastern regions10. China’s urban population has grown to 622 million in 2009, and about 80% of this growth is due to net migration and urban reclassification10. In 2010, China had a total of 155 million rural migrant workers, 145.3 million of whom worked outside their hometowns for over six months7. About 50% of all migrant workers work in large or medium cities, and 60% work in manufacturing and construction7. These industrial workers have created income for rural residents, and have propelled China’s rapid urbanization and modernization movements7. Unfortunately, China’s migrant workers are often associated with its population of the “urban poor” 5. These individuals suffer from drastic income inequalities in the world’s largest countries, a result of rapid urbanization and failing government safety nets and development programs5. Issues for the urban poor include lack of income to provide for services such as clean water and waste disposal, reasonable education, healthcare services, social security5,6. Many companies also pay sparse wages, resulting in worker suicides and pressures in the young labor force6. The hukou system regulates the movement and migration of people, and serves as an internal passport system10. Under the hukou system, rural migrants are allowed to move and work in cities, but they cannot have a hukou in the region they wish to stay, thereby making them ineligible for local benefits and rights10. Although the 5
annual hukou migrant population is consistently between 17-21 million people, the numbers of non-hukou migrants is steadily increasing10. In 2009, over 150 million non-hukou migrants were recorded across China10. Reforms to this system are necessary and underway10. Fang, Cheng, Xiaobo Zhang, and Shenggen Fan. "Emergence of Urban Poverty and Inequality in China: Evidence from Household Survey." China Economic Review 13.4 (2002): 430-43. Print. 6 Hussain, Athar. Urban Poverty in China: Measurement, Patterns and Policies. Rep. International Labor Organization, 2003. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http:// www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/ ses/download/docs/china.pdf>. 7 "Labour Migration." Labour Migration. International Labor Organization, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http:// www.ilo.org/beijing/areas-of-work/ labour-migration/lang--en/index.htm>. 8 Roberts, Dexter. "A $6.8 Trillion Price Tag for China's Urbanization." Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://www.businessweek.com/ articles/2014-03-25/6-dot-8-trillion-pricetag-for-chinas-urbanization>. 9 Seto, Karen. "What Should We Understand about Urbanization in China?" Yale Insights. Yale School of Management, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/ what-should-we-understand-abouturbanization-china>. 10 Wing Chan, Kam. China, Internal Migration. Rep. University of Washington, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http:// faculty.washington.edu/kwchan/Chanmigration.pdf>. 5
Agriculture & Food China is the world’s largest agricultural economy, and a leader in gross output of plants such as rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, apples, cotton, and oilseed12. It also exports significant quantities of pork and fish11. Agriculture contributes to 9.7% of its GDP, and employs 34.8% of its population, mostly in rural areas12. With only 9% of the world’s farming lands, China is currently feeding about 21% of the world’s population, which is an astounding feat14. This accomplishment is largely a result of historically high agricultural productivity and significant government investments in agriculture11. As demand increases, Chinese farmers have intensified agriculture, applying more pesticides and fertilizers to overcome land and water scarcity14. This investment has increased even faster in the last decade, with increasing mechanized agriculture11. China uses about 1/3rd of the world’s nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer on 9% of the world’s land, resulting in grave environmental concerns11. Despite this, grain production in 2010 had increased 80% from 1978 levels, increasing per capita food supply and caloric intake country-wide11. China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, allowing it to play a greater role in the world agricultural trade11. In 2004, it switched from being a net exporter to a net importer; it currently imports 60% of the global soybean supply, and 40% of the world’s cotton11. China is now the 5th largest exporter and 4th largest importer of agricultural products in the world11. Despite large-scale urbanization efforts, Chinese farms remain very small and labor-intensive. About 300 million workers are primary farmers, with per capita incomes less than $1000/year11. Farms are still government-owned and leased by farmers11. Thus, there is little investment or ownership in agriculture, and
scape of the country14. Urban populations demand more processed food and With only 9% of high-value meat and dairy, and thus a lowered demand for low-value staples the world’s such as cereals11. In China, per capita farming lands, meat consumption has more than doubled in the last 20 years11, 14. But meat China is production is extremely water intensive, currently and China cannot afford to produce its own pork and beef to sustainably feed feeding about its nouveau riche14. 76% of China’s wa21% of the ter goes to agriculture, and there is steady competition for water resources world’s from the arid north, where there are population several urban centers11, 14. Thus, the agricultural climate of China is consistently torn between resource constraints and farms cannot be easily consolidated into the need to feed an increasing populalarger efficient entities11. Agriculture is tion11, 14. also considered a risky profession, due In the future, China plans to increase to frequent grain losses, droughts, fluc- spending on agriculture and subsidies tuating food prices, lack of dependable for commodities to boost food security13. irrigation, and the degree of physical the National Development and Restrain involved11. Urbanization has di- In form (NDRC) 2014 work rectly influenced the agricultural land- report,Commission environmental constraints and
Agricultural Regions of China, Source: University of Texas 6
agricultural productions were noted as important future concerns13. NDRC said it will also provide support for grain production, agribusiness, and stockpiling programs13. Although historically the goal has been self-sufficiency, this has been proven to be unfeasible and impractical13. Various countries are encouraging China to open up its markets and use overseas markets more15. China has sought more information and agricultural know-how that could revolutionize its farms from other countries15. But export countries are hesitant to provide this information for fear of China becoming self-sufficient and closing its markets15. Meanwhile, China is pushing its free trade zones towards more protectionist policies to shield its own markets15.
Carter, Colin A. "China’s Agriculture: Achievements and Challenges." Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. University of California, Davis. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http:// giannini.ucop.edu/media/are-update/ files/articles/V14N5_2.pdf>. 12 "East and Southeast Asia: China." The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <https://www.cia.gov/library/ publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ ch.html>. 13 Patton, Dominique, and Fayen Wong. "China Says to Boost Agricultural Subsidies, Lift Grain Capacity." Reuters. Reuters, 5 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://uk.reuters.com/ article/2014/03/05/china-parliament11
commoditiesidUKL3N0M20BM20140305>. 14 Ren, Tianzhi. "China Agriculture: China Agriculture: Challenge & Countermeasures." United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. The United Nations and The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http:// sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/ documents/ren_5may_agriculture.pdf>. 15 Silk, Richard. "American Ag Firms: China Is Getting Tougher." The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://blogs.wsj.com/ chinarealtime/2014/02/27/american-agfirms-china-is-getting-tougher/>.
Sources: “China’s Agriculture: Achievements and Challenges”, ChinaAg.org 7
Land Use Management China has a total land area of 9,596,961 sq km, with 11.62% arable land, 1.53% permanent crops, and 629,380 sq km of irrigated land as of 200617. It is also home to over 21% of the world’s population, and 7% of the earth’s total area20. Thus, there is a significant scarcity of land per capita, a problem that is exacerbated by the increasing population and resource consumption20. China’s land area per capita has decreased from 1.76 hectares in 1949 to 0.72 hectares in 2008 due to this expansion20. Although cultivated land has increased overall to 12100000 ha in 2008 from 10790000 ha in 1952, this expansion is a result of conversion from other land use types, mostly forested areas20. Between 1996 and 2008, Zhang et al. found that the percentage of cultivated land decreased by 6.40%21. At the same time, the percentage of land used for transportation increased by 46.65%, and the percentage of land used for development increased by 13.55%20. Thus, the amount of agricultural and forested land is decreasing to make room for urbanized spaces, resulting in food and land stress20. Cultivated land is decreasing by a larger amount, at a faster rate, and with significant geographic variation. The per capita area of cultivated land decreased from 0.092 hectares in 2008 from 0.106 hectares in 199620. These drastic changes are a result of China’s historic policy focus on industrialization as well as self-sufficiency21. Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, industrial development was favored to agriculture, and regarded as the key to self-sufficiency21. After the Great Leap Forward and the Great Famine of 1956-1961, the government refocused on agriculture, implementing a series of reforms to improve rural productivity21. Now, few conservation-related policies have been released, but with little enforcement countrywide20. Cultivated lands are largely still
being converted to land use types with higher economic yield and ecologic effect20. Despite the decreasing availability of agricultural land, China has been able to successfully produce enough food for its inhabitants without significant imports in recent years16. The increase in Chinese food production is attributed to the increase in productivity and farming intensity16. Yields in Chinese food productivity have increased from 1211 kg/Ha in 1961 to 5432 kg/Ha in 2006, due to extensive fertilizer yield, new technologies, and institutional support16. Fertilizer use per hectare increased from 10 kg in 1960 to about 330 kg in 200216. The most rapid yield increases began in 1978, when the Chinese government introduced the household responsibility system to increase production by rural
New classification system helps Chinese farmers slow down land loss, Source: China Daily 8
households16. This progress is currently being challenged by the changing Chinese diets, and increased consumption of meat products16. About 4-8 tons of cereal is needed on average to produce 1 ton of meat, making the meat industry very resource-intensive16. These changing diets will dictate the food needs, agricultural demand, and thus land use change and import policies of the future16. The spatial extent of land-use change is varied. In Northeastern, Southwest and Southeast coastal China, large areas of woodland and grassland have been converted to farmland19. In urban centers and in river basins, fertile arable land has suffered heavy degradation in China due to environmental problems such as desertification, salinization, and largescale urbanization18. Significant decreases exist in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, Yangtze River Delta, Huanghe River and Sichuan Basins18, 19. Most of the vanished cropland was converted into non-forest land, of which urbanized land was less than 30%18. This points to transitions among natural land covers, forest plantations on woodland, and the abandonment of croplands, all of which have significant consequences for China’s growing population19. According to the national Land Use Planning Framework, China is expected to have a population of 1.5 billion people by 2020, requiring about 0.6 billion tons of food, and a 55-60% urbanization level20. To support this growing population, scientists believe that at least 0.11 billion hectares of cultivated land is needed20. China thus faces a glaring problem, since there is insufficient arable land within the country, and 2/3rd of the reserved area in the country cannot be developed and used20. Thus, conservation and land use change are, and will be, at constant odds with each other in many decisions about China’s future.
Ciu, X., M. Rounsevell, Y. Jiang, M. Kang, P. Palmer, W. Chen, and T. Dawson, "Simulating land-use change in China from a global perspective," Book Chapter Submitted to "Vulnerability and Resilience of Land Systems in Asia". Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009. 17 "East and Southeast Asia: China." The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <https://www.cia.gov/library/ publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ ch.html>. 18 Liu, Jiyuan, Mingliang Liu, Dafang Zhuang, Zengxiang Zhang, and Xiangzheng Deng. "Study on Spatial Pattern of Land-use Change in China during 1995—2000." Science in China 46.4 (2003): 373-384. Web. 19 Liu, Mingliang, and Hanqin Tian. "China’s Land Cover and Land Use Change from 1700 to 2005: Estimations from High‐resolution Satellite Data and Historical Archives." Global Biogeochemical Cycles 24.3 (2010): n. pag. Web. 20 Wang, Jing, Yongqi Chen, Xiaomei Shao, Yanyu Zhang, and Yingui Cao. "Land-use Changes and Policy Dimension Driving Forces in China: Present, Trend and Future." Land Use Policy 29.4 (2012): 737-49. Print. 21 Zhang, Xiaobo, Timothy D. Mount, and Richard N. Boisvert. "Industrialization, Urbanization and Land Use in China." Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies 2.3 (2004): 207-24. Print. 16
(top) Land Use in China, Source: Dr. Alan Buckley, Santa Monica College (bottom) Changes in Land Use and Land Cover in China, Source: Dr. Bruce Railsback, University of Georgia 9
Forced Resettlement Resettlement of individuals for the construction of large-scale infrastructure and development projects is a relatively common phenomenon in China. Damrelated construction is the largest cause of forced resettlement. Over 10 million Chinese have been relocated by damrelated projects throughout Chinaâ€™s history, over 46% of them living in extreme poverty22. China aims to increase its hydropower capacity significantly in the next decade, resulting in further damrelated construction and resettlement23. The most significant developmentrelated resettlement in China occurred with the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. In the primary phases of the project, over 846,478 people, or about 6% of the population of the population of 19 counties in the surrounding region had to relocate25. Post-construction and mitigation measures resulted in an official tally of 1.13 million displaced people25. Of these persons, 500,000 are peasant farmers, many of whom earn onethird of the World Bank poverty level of $1 per day22. By 2020, the number of people affected by the Three Gorges Dam is expected to rise to 4 million people22. Oustees of these forced resettlement programs face various challenges as a result of these forced relocation programs24. The social cost of construction projects is almost never investigated, or taken into account in major construction and planning decisions24. Thus, displaced persons are often forced to migrate to unwelcoming neighborhoods, or live among hostile host population, with forcible eviction and variable compensation causing widespread bitterness and antagonism24. Displaced persons also lose their livelihoods, which cannot be easily compensated24. For example, the Three Gorges Dam floods about 34,000 ha, of which 50% is fertile agricultural land23. This area provided 40% of Chi-
naâ€™s grain and 70% of its rice crops22. In a country lacking in arable land, this has severe consequences for food production and the local job market23. Another unfortunate consequence of forced relocation is that many farms never regain former income levels. Farmers are often forced to move uplands, presenting them with unfamiliar environments. They may incur losses as a part of the learning process, but it hits them twice as hard since they do not have enough seed capital from compensation25. Uplands also present steep slopes, leading to high risk of landslides25. Farming on these steep slopes directly affects water table25. Thus, the financial, health, and ecological risks of resettlement are very severe25. The remaining 40% of farmers may lose employment, and are often forced to migrate to urban areas to seek new livelihoods25. Rural migrants are not allowed to settle permanently in cities, therefore, they retain a migrant worker status which does not allow them access to various services and job opportunities in the city25. Due to a lack of education, these individuals are at a further disadvantage in the urban environment, com-
Source: International Rivers 10
By 2020, the total number of people affected by the Three Gorges Dam is expected to rise to 4 million people.
peting for scarce jobs25. Thus, the total cost of construction amounts to a lot more when the social costs of forced resettlement are taken into account25. There are various opportunities for reform in the existing system. Currently, not all displaced persons receive equal pay or fair compensation22. Additionally, further problems arise because government investment in areas to be flooded by dams generally declines several years before construction22. This results in residents having a lower standard of living, and thus receiving unfair compensation due to the governmentâ€™s own standards22. Embezzlement is another major problem in these projects of scale.
For example, in the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the compensation funds amounted to 46% of the total project costs of the dam (about $7.15 billion) 22. By 2005, over $35 million was misappropriated by local authorities22. These accounts of embezzlement were denied by the State Council, and millions of people received unfair compensation22. This can be changed by reducing embezzlement and misuse of funds, and instead mandating policies where government investments in dam-affected communities stay the same, or even increase, before construction is slated to begin. Thus, the communities can be more resilient, and acclimate better to the challenges of resettlement. Property rights also remain ambiguous25. Private land was seized and redistributed in the 1950s-60s25. The commune system was abolished by agricultural reforms, but farms remain collectively-owned25. There is a property market developing largely in the urban centers, but it is still sluggish25. Property rights also vary by
property and kinship categories, and is largely not regulated25. Restoring property rights in rural lands can be problematic, since it can lead to the development of powerful landowners and poor peasants, resulting in a pseudo-feudal system that would not benefit the people25. Thus, creating a unified system of property rights is fundamental to ensuring fair compensation for land and work, and ensuring that internally displaced persons can begin and lead a successful life post-resettlement25. Monitoring and evaluation of these variables is once again important to further progress.
"China's Three Gorges Dam Social Consequences." China's Three Gorges Dam Social Consequences. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.mtholyoke.edu/~vanti20m/ classweb/website/ socialconsequences.html>. 23 Heggelund, GĂ¸rild, 'Resettlement Programmes and Environmental Capacity in the Three Gorges Dam Project'. Development and Change, Vol 37, No 1, 2006, pp. 179-199. 24 Heming, Li, Paul Waley, and Phil Rees. "Reservoir Resettlement in China: Past Experience and the Three Gorges Dam." The Geographical Journal 167.3 (2001): 195-212. Print. 25 Jackson, Sukhan, and Adrian Sleigh. "Resettlement for China's Three Gorges Dam: Socio-economic Impact and Institutional Tensions." Communist and Post -Communist Studies 33.2 (2000): 22341. Print. 22
Relative number of individuals displaced by select dams in China, Source: The New York Times 11
Ecological Threats Deforestation is a major problem in China, where it is catalyzed by urbanization and heavy industrialization. Only 2% of China’s forests remain intact, and only 0.1% of the surviving forests are properly protected26. In Western China, entire hillsides are often razed to the ground for industrial uses. Transplantation plays an important role in changing urban ecologies; Beijing, Shanghai, and other urban centers frequently transplant mature trees from neighboring provinces, resulting in reintroduction of species in cities, and loss of indigenous species in rural areas28. Recent studies have shown that China uses over 20 million trees each year to create disposable chopsticks27. This “chopstick problem” has been blamed for the destruction of 1.18 million square meters of forest every year27. All these sources add up to a nation-wide deforestation problem. Deforestation is also directly linked to desertification—as forests disappear, soil becomes easily detached, and the nutrients leach out from exposure, leaving only sandy soils in the region28. A report from China Daily shows that every year, an average of 2,460 sq km of vegetated land in China deteriorates into desert. Another 1 million hectares suffer from land erosion28. The trend of deforestation is not recent. Intensive logging has been documented since the Xia and Shan dynasties (21001100 BC) for agriculture and land ex-
Source: NBC News
pansion32. China’s deforestation started centuries ago in the Loess plateau, moving long the Yellow River to the Shanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces. Then it spread towards northeastern China32. In the 20th century, agricultural land has not increased significantly, but forest loss due to urbanization/ industrialization continues to be a problem32. During the Great Leap Forward era, at least 1/3rd of China’s open forests were chopped down, and 1/5th of closed forests were destroyed around the Gobi Desert34. In Shaanxi province, at least 60% of trees, originally planted to protect railways, were chopped34. In irrigation areas next to the Jing, Wei and Luo rivers, over 30,000 trees along the canals were felled, and over 1/3rd of forests were destroyed34. Over these several thousand years, there has been a cycle of deforestation, mild recovery, and more severe deforestation—a cycle that has been catalyzed by technological advancements in the 20th century32, 33. This deforestation is believed to have reduced water resources, causing sandstorms that wiped out thousands of hectares of farmland, resulting in the famine that lasted over three years in China34. Deforestation has also been linked to the increased frequency of floods and massive mudslides in northwestern China, as well as the rapid drying of lakes and marshlands in the Tibet-Qinghai plateau28. Beijing continues to be hit by severe sandstorms every year, as a direct result of surrounding urbanization and deforestation28. All these ecologic changes directly affect China’s rich biodiversity. China is home to over 33,000 vascular plants, and is considered one of the main 12
centers of origin and diversification for seed plants on Earth30. Northwest Yunnan is a designated global biodiversity ‘hotspot’, and home to over 2000 species of medicinal plants and 84 rare or endangered plant species31. Northwest Yunnan is also home to over 139 wild rare or endangered animal species31. 80 of these species are national protected on China’s red list, and 63 are internationally protected31. Main causes of biodiversity loss in this area include agriculture, livestock grazing, and collection of fuel wood and construction timber. With expanding populations, it is increasingly impossible to understand biodiversity impact separately from humanenvironment and socio-cultural conditions31. Habitat destruction/ fragmentation, environmental contamination, over-exploitation of natural resources, and introduction of exotic species have all contributed to biodiversity loss in the region, and changes must be made to ensure protection of existing species31. There have definitely been improvements, and China is slowly becoming more environmentally conscious. Forest coverage in China has increased from 8.6% in 1949 to 18.21% in 200333. The plantation of windbreaks to prevent desert encroachment has also seen positive results28. According to one report from the National Greening Commission, government officials and citizens have planted over 35 billion trees in the past 20 years28. But these trees need longterm care and attention, which is not regularly provided, resulting in sparse survival rates28. Additionally, even if new trees are properly maintained, it often takes decades before these new growth forests can provide the same climatic benefits as the old trees28. Farmers have also observed a lack of foresight in planting—for example, indigenous trees are not planted. Indigenous trees are
regularly felled in Hainan and Yunnan provinces to make way for eucalyptus plantations for the paper industry28. These plantation trees change the local ecology, resulting in habitat changes and reduced carbon storage28. Despite this knowledge, politics and the highly valuable timber industry make this a difficult practice to change. From a policy standpoint, rigorous enforcement of illegal logging bans in protected areas have proven to be successful, and expanding these areas would definitely help restore some part of the native flora29. An integrated policy strategy is recommended for the region, which links culture, nature and livelihoods to ensure maximum protection of natural resources31. Local farmers and communities must first secure prior rights to decide over sustainable resource use. Education and further research into identifying and securing unforestable lands is also recommended31. Even though China currently has an extensive network of nature reserves and protected areas that cover over 16% of total land area, insufficient budgets result in fewer officials to ensure proper protection of these areas29. Thus, more funding must be allocated to these programs, and environmental conservation must become a more important national priority29. Further empowerment of citizens and local environmental movements is also necessary to check unrestricted growth, and to maintain China’s ecologic diversity29.
Source: The New York Times
Gittings, John. "Battling China's Deforestation." Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 20 Mar. 2001. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.theguardian.com/world/2001/ mar/20/worlddispatch.china>. 29 Harkness, James. "Recent Trends in Forestry and Conservation of Biodiversity in China." The China Quarterly 156 26 "Deforestation Problems." Greenpeace (1998): 911-34. Print. East Asia. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http:// 30 López-Pujol, Jordi, Fu-Min Zhang, and www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/ Song Ge. "Plant Biodiversity in China: campaigns/forests/problems/>. Richly Varied, Endangered, and in Need 27 Dewey, Caitlin. "China’s Disposable of Conservation." Biodiversity and ConChopstick Addiction Is Destroying Its servation 15.12 (2006): 3983-4026. Print. Forests." Washington Post. 14 Mar. 31 Xu, Jianchu, and Andreas Wilkes. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http:// "Biodiversity Impact Analysis in Northwww.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ west Yunnan, Southwest China." Biodiworldviews/wp/2013/03/14/chinasversity and Conservation 13.5 (2004): disposable-chopstick-addiction-is959-83. Print. destroying-its-forests/>. 28
Zhang, Yaoqi. "Deforestation and Forest Transition: Theory and Evidence in China." World Forests from Deforestation to Transition? Ed. Matti Palo and Heidi Vanhanen. Vol. 2. Finland: KluwerAcademic, 2000. 41-65. Print. 33 Zhang, Yuxing, and Conghe Song. "Impacts of Afforestation, Deforestation, and Reforestation on Forest Cover in China from 1949 to 2003." Journal of Forestry 104.7 (2006): 383-7. ProQuest. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. 34 Zhou, Xun. "Deforestation to Blame for Beijing's Pollution." South China Morning Post. N.p., 1 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <http://www.scmp.com/ comment/insight-opinion/ article/1204076/deforestation-blamebeijings-pollution>. 32
Public Health As the world’s largest country, China shares a significant percent of the global burden of disease35. China faces a range of health challenges such as SARS, HIV/ AIDS, H5N1 and avian flu35. Noncommunicable diseases comprised 77% of China’s total DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) in 2010, and cardiovascular/ circulatory diseases comprised about 18%37. Rates of cardiovascular disease in China are higher than in the US, and over 100 million people are estimated to suffer from diabetes36. China has 1/3rd of the world’s smokers, and the number of tobacco-related deaths is over 1 million per year36. Between 1981-2009, despite lifting 400-500 million people out of poverty, the average life expectancy increased by only five years (compared to 7-10 years in other countries) 39. China is still struggling with microbial and viral threats such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and rabies; in fact, China accounts for 1/3rd of all Hepatitis B carriers in the world39. Over 50% of the population suffers from mental disorders39. All these factors, combined with an aging population, increasing prevalence of respiratory illnesses as a consequence of China’s pollution problem, and an increasing chronic disease burden are causing new strains on the country’s struggling healthcare system40. Healthcare in China is part of the Three New Mountains—a list of challenges that the nation must resolve—with the other
Source: The Economist
two being education and social security36. There have been over 17,000 violent attacks against hospital doctors and healthcare workers in 2010, motivated by public anger over the poor care, rising costs, and corruption in the healthcare system36. This is a product of the decline of the Maoist healthcare system in the 1980s; in 2002, government spending on health as a share of GDP declined to about 0.8%, and by 2003, over 70% of the population had no healthcare at all39. The 2003 SARS epidemic jolted the government’s health initiatives, increasing spending and access to healthcare36, 40. This spending has increased significantly in the past decade, allowing more people to access healthcare benefits and improving public health. The future landscape of the Chinese healthcare system looks promising—China’s Ministry of Health intends to bring higher levels of healthcare to the Chinese people, and intends to triple its healthcare investment to $1 trillion by 202035, 36. The 12th Five-Year Plan for Health Sector Development (2011 –2015) and the Plan for Further Strengthening Health Care System Reform (2012– 2015) both promise further improvements and improved access to healthcare for China35. China plays a key role in global public health. Since the 2003 SARS epidemic, Beijing has engaged Southeast Asian countries in cooperative efforts to improve public health38, 40. This has been important for economic and trade links, as well as for geostrategic relationships, since Beijing uses active health diplomacy as a tool for “smart power” 38. China is also home to a thriving substandard medication industry38. Southeast Asia has seen the rapid rise of drugresistant malaria strains in the region, and part of this is suspected to be due to China’s counterfeit drug market38. Efforts to control this market and the drugs produced are underway. A significant portion of China shares borders with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, who are seeing resurgence of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and drug-resistant malaria38. Monitoring and surveillance of these borders, as well as within mainland China, 14
is essential to detect potential disease transmission38. China continues to invest more money in healthcare programs, and by addressing issues such as nutrition, drug quality, resistance, and environmental pollution, hopes to see significant changes in its healthcare systems in the near future40. "China." Overview. The World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. <http://www.who.int/countries/chn/en/>. 36 Economy, Elizabeth. "Tackling China's Public Health Crisis." Global Public Square RSS. CNN, 3 Jan. 2013. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. <http:// globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/03/ tackling-chinas-public-health-crisis/>. 37 "Global Burden of Disease: China." Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. University of Washington, 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http:// viz.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/gbdcompare/>. 38 Huang, Yanzhong. "Why Is It in China's Interest to Promote Health Security in Southeast Asia?" Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 20 Dec. 2012. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. <http:// blogs.cfr.org/asia/2012/12/20/why-is-it-inchinas-interest-to-promote-health-securityin-southeast-asia/>. 39 Huang, Yanzhong. "The Sick Man of Asia." Foreign Affairs. Council on Foreign Relations, Nov. 2011. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. <http://www.foreignaffairs.com/ articles/136507/yanzhong-huang/the-sickman-of-asia>. 40 Lee, Liming. "The Current State of Public Health in China." Annual Review of Public Health 25.1 (2004): 327-39. The Annual Review of Public Health. Web. 3 Apr. 2014. <http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/ pdf/10.1146/ annurev.publhealth.25.101802.123116>. 35
Water Historically and presently, China suffers China’s Water Productivity is very low42. from a severe water problem. The country For each cubic meter of water, China gets is home to 7% of the world’s freshwater about $8-worth of output, where European reserves, as well as 20% of the world’s pop- countries get about $58-worth42. The govulation, creating a significant water demand ernment also recognizes the value of water from existing sources43. The root of this conservation, changes to agricultural pracproblem lies in the extreme disparity in the tice, rainwater harvesting and desalination, geographic distribution of water resources but reforms in these practices would take in the country42. Four-fifths of China’s wa- millions of yuans of investment, and might ter is in the South, particularly concentrat- not yield satisfactory results45. ed in the Yangzi river basin42. Half the people and two-thirds of the farmland are located in the North42, and about 45% of the country’s GDP comes from waterscarce provinces44. This results in a water stress level comparable to countries like Saudi Arabia42. China uses 600 billion cubic meters of water a year, which approximates to 400 cubic meters a person42. This is less than half of the amount that defines international water stress42. This water demand has had severe environmental consequences. The number of rivers with significant catchment areas has fallen from over 50,000 in the 1950s to 23,000 now42. In 2007, the Yellow River The SNWDP will affect various key Chinese Conservancy determined that 1/3rd of the sites, including the city of Beijing and the Three Gorges Dam. Source: The Economist river’s water was unsuitable for agriculture, particularly due to 4,000 petrochemical plants built on its banks42. The local But instead of sweeping reforms promoting water table has dropped by an average of efficiency and conservative use, China is 300 meters since the 1970s42. Government focusing on increasing supplies. The Three authorities report that only about half the Gorges dam is one example of this endeavcities’ water sources are safe to drink, and or44. This dam has helped create an artifiabout 20% are unsuitable even for human cial reservoir that reduces downstream contact, let alone consumption42. Over 190 flood risk, and has increased the Yangtze’s million Chinese are reported sick from barge capacity44. Yet, the construction of 41 drinking contaminated water . This water the Three Gorges Dam has caused several shortage also significantly impacts China’s problems such as earthquakes, relocation of interest in a shale-gas revolution, and the thousands of people, and corruption in the World Bank estimates that the water crisis construction itself44. In 2013, China began costs about 2.3% of its GDP43. work on the South-North Water Diversion (SNWDP), which will link the Many solutions are emerging to this water Project Yangzi with Yellow river to replenish crisis. The most important solution so far water supplythe 43. The project in the has been to reuse as much water as possi- requires constructionNorth of over 3000 km of ble. Only about 40% of water is currently tunnels and canals, building over archeobeing recycled42. Increasing water prices is logical and religious sites in 15 provinces45. another option: in most cities, water costs The eastern end would pump 14.8 billion about 1/10th the European price2. The gov- cubic meters along 1,160 km of canals 42. A ernment is opposed to these price increases midstream link is supposed to be open by for fear of popular backlash42. Therefore, October 2014, and work begins on the up15
stream end of the Himalayan plateau42. The project will deliver 45 billion cubic meters of water a year for a total cost of $79.4 billion42. Scientists have determined that it would be cheaper to desalinate that amount of seawater, but Chinese authorities remain convinced the SNWDP will benefit China in the long run42, 45. The SNWDP has already triggered a cascade of extra engineering projects, which are unsustainable in the long run44. Town and provincial officials are pushing for extra dams and water reservoirs, which take water from one river to replenish another44. Combined with China’s goal of tripling hydropower in the future, many Chinese rivers may simply not flow in the next 10 years41, 44. "Access to Clean Water." China Water Risk. ADM Capital Foundation, n.d. Web. 41
23 Apr. 2014. <http://chinawaterrisk.org/ big-picture/access-to-clean-water/>.
"All Dried up." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 12 Oct. 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <http://www.economist.com/ news/china/21587813-northern-chinarunning-out-water-governments-remediesare-potentially-disastrous-all>. 42
"Desperate Measures." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 12 Oct. 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.economist.com/news/ leaders/21587789-desperate-measures>. 43
Kuo, Lily. "China Is Moving More than a River Thames of Water across the Country to Deal with Water Scarcity." Quartz Magazine. N.p., 6 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://qz.com/158815/chinas-so-bad -at-water-conservation-that-it-had-to-launch -the-most-impressive-water-pipeline-project -ever-built/>. 44
Zheng, Chunmiao, Jie Liu, Guoliang Cao, Eloise Kendy, Hao Wang, and Yangwen Jia. "Can China Cope with Its Water Crisis?-Perspectives from the North China Plain." Ground Water 48.3 (2010): 350-54. Print. 45
Environmental Justice Defining environmental justice in the Chinese context is difficult. Environmental research in the US and Europe assumes that litigation, community activism, and public protests are viable strategies to address environmental concerns49. In China, these options are not fully developed49. Governmentâ€™s respect for individual rights is poor, environmental litigation is still in its infancy, and public protest is often suppressed49. The context of an authoritarian, singleparty government that emphasizes economic development over environmental protection complicates issues of environmental justice49.
also present48. Individuals associated with rural areas, particularly migrant workers under the hukou system, face a disproportionate environmental burden48.
The contemporary hukou system, established in the 1950s by the post-war communist government and the Soviet Union, was established to control migration into and out of urban areas48. By the mid-1960s, the hukou registry had caused the forced resettlement of over 40 million individuals into urban areas48. Studies by Ma and Schoolman indicate that urban workers with a rural hukou are part of a distinct social class, and Despite these challenges, recent studies their struggles are strikingly similar to indicate environmental justice is an im- racial minorities in the US48. portant concern in China, particularly in light of urban hyperexpansion48. In the Individuals with an urban hukou are US, most studies on environmental jus- able to gain access to housing far away tice since the early 2000s has found that from polluting facilities, and are able to racial minorities are disproportionately use political clout to prevent access to exposed to environmental pollution and these spaces for migrants48. With inhazards, and that race-based environ- creasing incomes and ownership of cars, mental inequality in the US is a result of urban hukou holders are further able to market forces and prejudicial intent48. In distance themselves from polluting facilChina, race is not the determining fac- ities48. Thus, polluting facilities and lowtor, since the ethnic Han populations income, socially disadvantaged migrant make up 92% of the population48. In- rural hukou-holding populations are stead, the bias is primarily along mifurther attracted to low rent housing grant lines, although discrimination available in already-polluted areas48. The against poor and ethnic minorities is flight of politically influential citizens in these spaces also causes a feedback loop, in which these communities are ignored by the government48. These populations are more vulnerable to state action such as harassment, arrest, expulsion, and visa loss, which narrows their housing and political options48. New factories, power plants, waste treatment facilities, etc. are often located in areas occupied by low-status social groups48. This type of siting is less expensive, and also offers social security, since rural migrants have less political voice and are less likely to complain against unethical environmental practices48. Source: The Wall Street Journal 16
Source: The Economist
Ma and Schoolman argue that environmental inequality is not an effect of industrialization, but a consequence of social class restructuring that shape environmental injustice48. Their studies indicate that townships in Jiangsu province with large provinces of rural migrant workers are disproportionately exposed to industrial pollution48. This relationship exists even after accounting for migrant employment in heavy industry48. Thus, there is evidence for disproportionate siting rather than hukou migrant worker move-in48. This problem is worsened when non-migrant workers accumulate enough wealth to move farther away from areas with these toxic facilities48. This leaves these areas with high concentration of migrant workers with rural hukous and little political power, furthering the cycle of environmental injustice48. Progress is occurring, and activism is slowly taking root. Citizensâ€™ groups have slowly begun using lawsuits, petitions and even open protests to advocate for their rights47. In 2005, the state environmental Protection Administration stopped 30 major industrial project for failure to conduct environment impact assessments46. The internet is also becoming an important tool for information sharing and organization around these shared interests47. Activists and
journalists like Liu Jiangquiang who are advocating for environmental protection are being heard, and the audience for investigative journalism is emerging47. People are realizing the ramifications of ignoring the environment for the sake of progress, and the inefficiencies created by companies and government projects47. Further progress is expected on issues of environmental justice in China in the next few decades47.
18 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.theecologist.org/News/ news_analysis/1366233/ liu_jianqiang_fighting_for_environme ntal_justice_in_china.html>. 48
Ma, Chunbo, and Ethan Schoolman.
Towards a General Theory of Environmental Inequality: Social Characteristics of Townships and the Distribution of Pollution in Chinaâ€™s Jiangsu Province.
Working paper no. 1123. The University of Western Australia, 7 Nov. 2011. Web. 2 May 2014. <http:// ageconsearch.umn.edu/ bitstream/117809/2/WP110023.pdf>.
Gu, Lin. "China Improves Enforcement of Environmental Laws." China Features. Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 49 Tilt, Brian. "How to Define 'environmental Justice' in China." The 29 Sept. 2005. Web. 02 May 2014. <http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/ Center for the Humanities. Oregon State University, Spring 2008. Web. 18 eng/zt/Features/t214565.htm>. Apr. 2014. <http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ 47 Levitt, Tom. "Liu Jianqiang: Fighting humanities/how-definefor Environmental Justice in China." 039environmental-justice039-china>. The Ecologist. N.p., 11 May 2012. Web. 46
Source: China Daily
Migrant workersâ€™ challenges include education, employment, and finding stable housing. This community comprises of individuals living in shipping containers, Source: Aly Song, Reuters 17
(top) Urban women participate in protests to allow the formation of environmental NGOs, Source: Guardian Liberty Voice (bottom) An elderly woman carries firewood and cooking supplies in the city of Jiujiang, Source: The Epoch Times 18
The Gendered Environment Women in China play an important role in the environment. According to FAO statistics in 1997, the female labor force in the countryside constituted about 46.6% of the total labor force50. Women have extensive workload with dual responsibility for farm and household production. Thus, they have an active role and extensive involvement in livestock production, forestation and water use50. Although women’s roles in agriculture tends to be limited, women shoulder the responsibility of rearing children, caring for husbands, attending aged parents and grandparents, preparing forage, collecting manure, raising poultry and livestock, etc50. After the introduction of the family contract system, women accounted for about 60-70% of the total manpower in farm work50. Women are often disproportionately affected by environmental damage. Due to forest degradation, women in rural neighborhoods are being forced to spend more time and energy in firewood collection50. Male farmers are also migrating in increasing numbers from rural areas to urban centers in search for work, leaving women in charge of these areas50. Despite this phenomenon, recent research by Xiao and Hong indicates that Chinese women prioritize the environment as a less important issue than Chinese men, indicating a reverse gender gap53. The traditional gender gap in Western literature suggests that women possess a higher level of concern for the environment, but don’t participate as much as men in environmental behaviors53. Research by Shields and Zeng indicates that 17.3% of males in The China Survey indicated that the environment was the most serious problem facing China, while only 15% of women chose this option52. 25% of women indicated that they did not believe the environment to be a serious problem, while only 20% of men reported it was not a serious problem52. Thus, women in China do not care as much about the environment, and thus, do not act on these issues as much as
men52. These results are in contrast to other developing countries like India, where women are active agents in environmental conservation movements due to their dependence on communal resources and the immediate impact of environmental degradation on their livelihoods52. This reverse gender gap is a direct result of various mediating factors. Illiterate and semi-literate women aged 25 years and over constitute 32% of the population, as well as 41.2% of the rural labor force in agricultural enterprises50. In China, higher level of knowledge of environmental issues do translate into pro-environmental behaviors, therefore, women’s lack of access to education severely limits their understanding of and action upon environmental issues53. Women also perform a lot of domestic duties, which itself often keeps them from engaging with the greater environment53. Women’s greater share of domestic duties may reduce their biographical availability for environmental behaviors outside of home53. Therefore, regardless of levels of concern, they might not always have the chance to act on these beliefs in the public sphere53. Women in China demonstrate greater participation in private environmental behaviors, such as recycling, and less participation in public environmental behaviors, such as protests52, 53. Women are also more likely to trust “institutional actors” such as businesses or local government leaders, who play an important role in trust and perceptions of risk in public policy52. The greater the trust a respondent expressed in institutional actors, the less concerned that citizen was likely to be about the seriousness of China’s environmental problems52. Thus, as a combination of all these factors, women rated problems such as poverty and education as more important than the environment, and were overall less likely to say that environmental problems were a serious issue in China52. Thus, further progress needs to be made in securing women’s role in the environ19
mental movement in China. According to the United Nations Development Program’s Gender Inequality Index, China ranks 101 of 195 countries, indicating that further measures need to be taken to equalize differences between the sexes51. Women in various counties have already led measures to reduce firewood consumption, conserve water, and manage production under adverse weather conditions50. Women also comprise a significant part of the rural workforce, making their role in environmental management indispensable50. Various goals exist for programs aiming to bridge the reverse gender gap in Chinese environmental issues. Women’s participation must be encouraged in environmental and technology transfer programs50. Women’s workload must be minimized to fix the issue of biographical availability for education and conservation programs50. Rural women must be empowered with appropriate training in soil conservation and water harvesting methods50. Women’s access to credit and other production inputs must be improved, and further gender-sensitive methods must be implemented50. "CHINA." SD : People : Asia's Women in Agriculture, Environment and Rural Production :. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 50
2014. <http://www.fao.org/sd/wpdirect/ wpre0107.htm>. 51 "Human Development Reports." Gender Inequality Index (GII). United Nations Development Programme, 2013. Web. 01 May 2014. <http:// hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/gii>. 52 Shields, Todd, and Ka Zeng. "The Reverse Environmental Gender Gap in China: Evidence from “The China Survey”." Social Science Quarterly 93.1 (2011): 1-20. Print. 53 Xiao, Chenyang, and Dayong Hong. "Gender Differences in Environmental Behaviors in China." Population and Environment 32.1 (2010): 88-104. Print.
Geopolitical Issues As perhaps the most important economy in Asia, China plays an invaluable role in geopolitical issues around the world. A significant percentage of China’s geopolitical decisionmaking is influenced by energy security concerns58. China’s state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) completed construction of a natural gas pipeline from Myanmar to China in 201358. The pipeline route opens up its southwest provinces to the Indian Ocean, allowing one-third of China’s crude imports to bypass the Strait of Malacca, which is viewed as a US-controlled sea lane58. Chinese scholars have hailed this effort as a part of Beijing’s “two-ocean strategy”—one that allows Chinese naval control in the Pacific and Indian oceans58. Myanmar also possesses offshore natural gas fields, and China has been developing the Kyaukphyu deep water port in this region58. This port provides a long-sought-after landaccessible port in the Indian Ocean for China, allowing it energy independence from the Middle East and Africa58. India and Japan have also renewed their interest in Myanmar, leading to energy competition between these countries58. However, ethnic violence in Myanmar has caused concerns for all key players, and geopolitical relations remain tense58. China and Japan have also confronted each other in energy-related conflicts. In 2005, the Chinese navy deployed five vessels near the Chinese drilling platform at Chunxiao field55. These vessels turned a gun turret to a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft, a move that was regarded as a display of Chinese military power and “gunboat diplomacy” 55. China also set up a reserve vessel squadron in the East China Sea55. Japan, on the
other hand, suspects China began production of gas or oil at the Tianwaitian field near Chunxiao, breaking the standoff as negotiations proceeded55. In July 2005, Japan granted drilling rights in the region to Teikoku Oil, which may cause issues as both countries use the area’s natural resources55. The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands issue also divides China and Japan. Japan claims to have discovered the uninhabited islands in 1884, turned over control to America in 1945, and reclaimed its control of the islands in 197257. China claims the Diaoyus were a waypoint for navigation in tributary missions, and part of the Ryukyu island kingdom, a Chinese vassal57. By 1972, oil and gas reserves had been identified under the seabed surrounding the islands, increasing China’s interest in the region57. In September 2012, the Japanese government bought three islands of the Senkaku/Diaoyu cluster it did not already own from a private owner57. This caused China to send vessels and aircrafts to challenge Japanese control of the region, calling the area an “air defense identification zone” 57. The issue is not yet resolved, and is expected to be part of negotiations between the two countries in the future57. Control of the South China Sea is also the subject of China’s ongoing negotiations with the Philippines. The Philippines filed with the UN for arbitration for control of the Spratly Islands, located in the South China Sea56. The Spratlys are contested by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all claiming them in whole or in part56. Control of this geostrategic region would give any country more leverage in the South China Sea, used by nearly a third of the world’s 20
Source: The Economist: “Carps among the Spratlys” and “Oil and Gas in Troubled Waters”
maritime shipping trade56. The sea is also home to deposits of oil, gas and fisheries, particularly the Scarborough Shoal56. China’s control currently extends to the Nine Dash Line, based on the historic Eleven Dash Line set by the Kuomintang in 194756. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ceded two of these dashes to Vietnam in 195356. China’s geopolitical strategy has deemphasized territorial claims for several decades after this incident, but growing Chinese power has increased the country’s geopolitical influence56. China now faces pressure to assert its national sovereignty by staking its claim on the Spratly and Parcel islands56. This conflict is complicated by the fact that the Philippines is backed by the US, which is slowly ceding control in the AsiaPacific56. Both countries are claiming historic access to justify territorial claim, and multilateral negotiations are being advocated towards a resolution56. Part of this conflict is due to varying definitions. According to the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) may extend up to 200 nautical miles from a country’s shoreline56. The East China Sea between China and Japan is only 360 nautical miles at its widest, resulting in overlapping (and disputed) areas56. There are currently no regulations on how to resolve the overlapping of EEZs, resulting in geopolitical ambiguity between these countries, among others in the Pacific56. In addition to this, geopolitical decisions are also fuelled by China’s desire to increase and preserve historic militaristic dominance in the Asia-Pacific54. China’s defense budget had increased eight-fold since 2001, with particular emphasis on submarine, ballistic missiles and cyber warfare capabilities54. China has already implemented various anti-access areadenial strategies to preserve dominance in the East and South China seas, and further such measures from China are expected on the world stage as China grows in power and influence54.
Kaplan, Robert D. "China's Geopolitical Fallout." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 24 July 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/ stratfor/2013/07/24/chinas-geopoliticalfallout/>. 55 "Oil and Gas in Troubled Waters." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 08 Oct. 2005. Web. 06 May 2014. <http://www.economist.com/ node/4489650>. 56 Schultheiss, Michael. "Philippines China Rivalry: Geopolitics of the South China Sea." Guardian Liberty Voice. 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 06 May 2014. <http:// guardianlv.com/2014/03/philippineschina-rivalry-geopolitics-of-the-southchina-sea/>. 57 "Who Really Owns the Senkaku Islands?" The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 06 May 2014. <http://www.economist.com/ blogs/economist-explains/2013/12/ economist-explains-1>. 58 Yhome, K. "The Geopolitics of China's New Energy Route." East Asia Forum. Observer Research Foundation, 19 June 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/06/19/thegeopolitics-of-chinas-new-energy-route/ >. 54
Source: Foreign Affairs 21
(top) 2013 floods in Beichuan, Source: The Guardian (middle) Aftermath of a 2010 landslide in Zhouqu, Source: The Daily Mail (bottom) 2010 sandstorm in Gansu province, Source: National Geographic 22
China is prone to a variety of natural hazards. On average, China experiences about 14 disasters a year64. Each earthquake kills 44 individuals, each flood kills 453 individuals, each wind storm kills 77 individuals, and each landslide kills about 71 individuals64. Flooding is a fairly common occurrence in China, but has become hazardous in recent years59. Between 1900 and 1999, China saw three major floods in 1931, 1959, and 199859. Altogether, the floods killed over 5.7 million people, and affected 267 million individuals59. The 1998 floods had a severe impact, resulting in the death of 3656 individuals, and causing $30 billion worth of damage63, 65. The same flooding event flooded the Tibetan plateau, killing at least 53 people, and resulting in the loss of over 4000 head of livestock65. In recent years, flooding is occurring more frequently65. Between 1644 and 1911, the Yangtze flooded every decade; between 1921 and 1949, the frequency increased to once every six years; in the 1980s, the Yangtze flooded every two years, and by the 1990s, the Yangtze flooded almost once a year in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 199865. Areas of extreme flood risks include the Mekong Delta and the Tibetan Plateau65. China also faces a variety of geological hazards, such as earthquakes, rockfalls, landslides, subsidence, salinification, desertification and soil erosion65. The country has experienced 3 of the world’s top 10 most fatal earthquakes in 1556, 1976, and 2008. Since it is geographically located close to the Pacific Ring of Fire—a belt of seismic risk surrounding Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and Taiwan—China experiences high earthquake risk62. Landslides are also a major concern, especially around
dammed areas. These landslides are often caused by low-scale seismic activity, flooding, and excessive rain events. The Three Gorges Dam in particular has been proven to cause earthquakes and landslides in the surrounding regions. The coastal areas also face risks from tropical storms. Particularly, there are significant tsunami hazards along the Chinese coast due to earthquakes in the Manila trench and the South China Sea62. Even though there has not been as much relative damage caused by storms, scientists predict that parts of the coastal southeast have a 10% chance of seeing a 250+ kmh storm intensity within the next 10 years62. These natural disasters cause a lot of damage. Annual economy loss caused by geo-hazards is estimated to be more than 10 billion Yuan65. Emerging Asian economies are shown to face the greatest financial risk from natural disasters62. According to risk analysis form Maplecroft’s Natural Hazards Risk Atlas, 2011 was one of the most costly months for natural disasters, costing about $380 billion worldwide62. Even though these hazards are “natural”, human factors are responsible for influencing various causative factors65. Deforestation, overextraction of groundwater, petroleum extraction, mining, overgrazing, and inappropriate cultivation are
the most important human causes of rockfall, landslide, and debris flow65. Scientists studying natural hazards are realizing the importance of implementing natural methods to reduce hazard risk63. Ecological defense strips, tree plantings, and the restoration of mangroves and natural vegetation are all being recommended for landslides, and to reduce the impact of storm surges63. Further studies into coastal hazards and landslides are being done to better understanding of these events, and early warning systems are emerging to reduce the associated death toll60. Communities are also being trained to better equip them with disaster management techniques in areas of high risk60. The National Commission for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), and the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) are directly involved in monitoring for these natural hazards and developing risk assessment studies60, 65.
Alcántara-Ayala, Irasema. "Geomorphology, Natural Hazards, Vulnerability and Prevention of Natural Disasters in Developing Countries." Geomorphology 47.2-4 (2002): 107-24. Print. 60 "China: Country Report, 2012." Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), n.d. Web. 03 May 2014. <http:// www.adrc.asia/countryreport/ CHN/2012/CHN_CR2012A.pdf>. 61 "CHINA: Natural Hazard Risks." Seismic, Volcanic and Tropical Storm Risk. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs in Asia and the Pacific, 29 June 2007. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.preventionweb.net/ files/3760_chi.pdf>. 2 Kinver, Mark. "Asia Faces Biggest Disaster Risk." BBC News. The British Broadcasting Corporation, 15 Aug. 2012. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.bbc.com/news/scienceenvironment-19254685>. 9
Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention. 63
Washington. D.C.: World Bank, 2010. Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. The World Bank, 2010. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. < http:// www.gfdrr.org/sites/gfdrr.org/files/ nhud/files/NHUD-Overview.pdf>. 64 Kahn, Matthew E. "The Death Toll from Natural Disasters: The Role of Income, Geography, and Institutions." Review of Economics and Statistics 87.2 (2005): 271-84. Print. 65 Wang, Ying. "Environmental Degradation and Environmental Threats in China."Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 90.1-3 (2004): 161-69. Print.
Source: The Economist 23
Climate Change China is expected to face various challenges as climate change intensifies, including increased temperatures, sea level rise, glacier retreat, and accompanying global health and development consequences66. The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) stated in 2008 that between 1908 and 2007, the average temperature of the earth's surface in China has risen by 1.1 °C66. Between 1986 and 2007, China experienced 21 warm winters, with 2007 being the warmest year since 195166. China is expected to have annual average temperatures rise by 3.5 °C by the end of the 21st century66. These increased temperatures are expected to have severe consequences for agriculture, life, development, and biodiversity in China. Increased temperatures directly affect the water cycle. Northwest China has seen an increase of 22-33% in rainfall between 1961 and 200068. More extreme rains are appearing more frequently in Western and Southern China68. This is also linked with more frequent floods in northeast China since the 1990s, and a seven-fold increase in flood frequency since the 1950s68. Climate change is ex-
China is expected to have annual average temperatures rise by 3.5 °C by the end of the 21st century.
pected to worsen China’s water disparity70. Rising temperatures are expected to intensify evapotranspiration and thus agricultural water availability in Northern China70. In the South, floods are expected to become more frequent and intense, losing a lot of water66. As water direction and amounts fluctuate and flow paths change due to glacier retreat, major rivers are expected to lose volume66. The natural runoff volume from the Yangtze River is expected to decrease up to 25% in the future, resulting in severe changes to the wetland ecosystem in its path66. The Qinghai ecosystem, a migratory bird habitat, could face desertification in this scenario66. Rising surface temperatures in China are expected to catalyze glacier melt. The air temperature of the TibetPalmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) changes due to climate an platchange, Source: Nature.com 24
eau, located near the Himalayan mountain ranges, is now increasing at the rate of 0.3°C every ten years66. If current warming levels are maintained, glaciers located over Tibetan Plateau are likely to shrink at very rapid rates from 500,000 km2 in 1995 to 100,000 sq km by the 2030s. Even if global warming stops entirely, 1/3rd of the glacial area in Tibet is expected to disapper by 2050. This leads to shrinking glaciers, causing flooding from glacial rivers to upper river reaches, and water scarcity in lower reaches of major rivers such as the Yangtze. The flooding of glacial lakes can also have catastrophic consequences66. For example, in June 2004, flooding of the Yi'ong Zangbo river in the Tibetan Plateau resulted in rapid landslides, and the destruction of 50 major highways and 10 major bridges, and hundreds of homes in the region66. Sea levels are also affected by China’s observed global warming trend. Current research indicates that a one meter rise in sea level would flood 92,000 sq k m of China’s coast, displacing 67 million people. The 2007 Sea Level Monitoring Report from China’s State Oceanic Administration indicates that the average sea level along the Chinese coast has increased by 90 mm over the past 30 years66. This directly affects the rapid urbanization along China’s coasts. For example, Shanghai and Tianjin show higher rates of sea level rise due to urbanized landscapes, over-extraction of groundwater, and extremely high land load capacity, which leads to land sinking66. Shanghai sank 1.76 meters between 1921 and 1965, and since it is a high density development area constructed on marshy land, accelerated sinking is expected66. The expected sea level rise of 60 cm by 2050 could inundate Shanghai, destroying its economic growth66. Further problems such as coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, and
storm surges are all exacerbating this problem. Hong Kong suffers from a similar increase in mean sea level, especially during typhoon-related storm surges66. Climate change is also expected to alter ecosystem structure, resulting in biodiversity loss. If global average temperature rises by 1.5-2.5 °C, about 2-30% of global species are expected to face extinction66. Decreasing rainfall in southwest China is expected to endanger giant panda, golden monkey, takin, and crested ibis habitats66. Due to deteriorating natural habitats, Yunnan snub-nose monkey and Tibet antelope populations are already beginning to decrease66. Marine ecosystems are also affected by these changes. Pollution, over-fishing, increasing pH, coastal development, and water temperature rise have all made coral reefs extremely vulnerable66. Climate change increases this vulnerability,
affecting over 4000 fish species and related food chains66. In addition to all these consequences, global warming is expected to adversely affect agriculture as well. Without incorporating the beneficial effects of higher CO2 levels, or adaptation possibilities, climate change is expected to lead to a 13% total reduction in net yield69. Yield reductions for rice are projected to be 414%, 2-20% for wheat, and 0-23% for maize by mid-21st century69. Rain-fed grains are especially vulnerable, and economic studies show that these variable yields will affect food prices, trade, and self-sufficiency69, 70. The good news is, China is wellinformed about these risks, and efforts are already underway to improve China’s ecological footprint67. China has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by 40-45% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels70. China is also focusing on improv-
Source: The Institute for Energy Research 25
ing wind and water-based energy generation capacity67. But few efforts are being made to address agricultural emissions, which comprised 15.4% of China’s total GHG emissions in 2005. Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizers accounted for 89% of China’s total NOx emissions, and livestock contributed to about 59% of China’s total methane emissions70. Reducing these emissions will have important consequences on food production, sustainable land use, and climate change-related consequences in the country70. Chih-Yin Lai, Elisa. Climate Change Impacts on China's Environment: Biophysical Impacts. Rep. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Feb. 2009. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http://www.wilsoncenter.org/ publication/climate-change-impactschinas-environment-biophysicalimpacts>. 67 China's National Climate Change Programme. Rep. National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) People's Republic of China, June 2007. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http:// en.ndrc.gov.cn/newsrelease/200706/ P020070604561191006823.pdf>. 68 "Climate Change Impacts in China." WWF. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <http://wwf.panda.org/ about_our_earth/aboutcc/problems/ rising_temperatures/hotspot_map/ china.cfm>. 69 Li, Rui-Li, and Shu Geng. "Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture and Adaptive Strategies in China." Journal of Integrative Agriculture 12.8 (2013): 1402 -408. Print. 70 Wang, Jinxia, Jikun Huang, and Scott Rozelle. Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector: An Overview of Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation. Issue brief. International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, May 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.agritrade.org/events/documents/ ClimateChangeChina_final_web.pdf>. 66
Energy Resources Oil China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer, and became the largest global energy consumer in 2010. China was a net oil exporter until the 1990s. In 2009, it became the world’s second-largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products, and it is predicted the China will become the largest net oil importer in 2014. Oil accounts for about 18% of the country’s total energy consumption. Since 2013, China became the largest global net importer of oil. Two Chinese government-owned conglomerates, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) control majority of the market. As of January 2014, China holds 24.4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, up to 0.7 billion barrels from 2013 levels. China’s total oil and liquids production is the fourth largest in the world, and has risen by about 54% over the past 20 years. China’s production serves only its domestic market. In the long term, China’s oil is expected to grow steadily, reaching 4.6 million barrels per day in 2020 and 5.6 million barrels per day by 2040. Most of this long-term growth is from non-petroleum liquids such as gas-
to-liquids, coal-to-liquids, kerogen and biofuels.
Coal China is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and importer of coal—the country accounted for about half the global coal consumption in 2013. In 2011, coal comprised 69% of the country’s total energy consumption. About 50% of this is used for power generation. The industrial sector, including steel, pig iron, cement and coke all account for 45% of coal use. According to the World Energy Council, China held about 126 billion tons of recoverable coal reserves in 2011, equivalent to about 13% of the world’s total coal reserves. Production rose 4% from 3.8 billion tons in 2011 to about 4 billion tons in 2012. 28 of China’s 34 provinces produce coal in about 12,000 coal mines producing primarily bituminous coal. Historically a net coal exporter, China became a coal importer for the first time Source: Daniel Rosen and Trevor in 2009. Indonesia and Australia are the Houser, China Energy: A Guide for the largest coal exporters to China, supply- Perplexed ing over 60% of Chinese imports in 2012. Even though Shenhua Group holds 10% of the domestic market, Chi- coal sector to modernize existing mines and introduce new technology and safena is seeking global investment in its ty practices. The Chinese government has announced plans to cap coal use to below 65% by 2017 to reduce heavy air pollution around urban centers. In its 12th Five Year Plan, non-fossil fuel energy consumption is expected to improve to 15% of the net energy demand, and coal usage is expected to fall to 63% by 2020 and 55% by 2040. Despite these percentage decreases, absolute coal usage is expected to rise by 50% between now and 2040, with potentially drastic climaterelated consequences.
Nuclear Nuclear power comprises 2% of the to-
Source: Institute for Energy Research 26
tal net generation, at 83 TWh. China promotes nuclear power as a clean, efficient, and reliable energy source. Its installed nuclear capacity was 14.7 GW, with the addition of 2 reactors in 2013.
Natural Gas China held 155 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves as of January 2014. The natural gas demand has increased considerably in the past decade. The government plans to produce about 5.5 Tcf of natural gas by the end of 2015 to replace other hydrocarbons in the country’s energy portfolio. China aims to boost the natural gas share to 8% of the total energy consumption by 2015, and up to 10% by 2020 to alleviate high pollution. In 2007, China became a net natural gas importer for the first time. Since then, imports have increased, and demand has kept up with developing pipeline and processing infrastructure growth. Natural gas imports met 29% of demand in 2012.
Renewables China aims to produce at least 15% of its overall energy output in 2020 from renewable sources. Over $65 billion was invested in renewable energy projects in 2012, and the country plans to spend $473 billion on clean energy investments between 2011 and 2015. Hydroelectricity has become a key renewable energy source in china, primarily due to its efficiency and sizeable re-
China aims to produce at least 15% of its overall energy output in 2020 from renewable sources.
China is also investing significantly in solar power. The government hopes to increase capacity from about 3 GW in 2012 to 35 GW by the end of 2015. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is also offering various financial incentives to encourage solar generation. Biomass use is small, but the NDRC has created price and tax incentives for biomass and waste incineration as well. In 2011, the total installed biomass power capacity in China was more than 9 GW, with a target to raise capacity to 13 GW by 2015. China is a major energy-related CO2 emitter, releasing 8715 metric tons of CO2 in 2011. The Chinese government aims to reduce carbon intensity (carbon emissions per unit GDP) by 17%, and energy intensity (energy use per unit GDP) by 16% by 2015. Overall CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by at least 40% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels.
source potential. China was the world’s largest producer of hydroelectric power in 2011; over 687 TWh, or 15% of the country’s total energy generation, was generated from hydroelectric sources. The world’s largest hydropower project, the Three Gorges Dam, was completed in July 2012, and includes 32 generators, with a total maximum capacity of 22.5 GW. The dam has an annual average power generation capacity of 84.7 TWh, and the Chinese government plans to increase hydro capacity to 325 GW by 2015. 71 "China Energy." U.S. Energy InforIn 2011, China was also the world’s sec- mation Administration, n.d. Web. 12 ond-largest wind producer, generating Apr. 2014. <http://www.eia.gov/ 73 TWh. Its installed on-grid wind ca- countries/cab.cfm?fips=ch>. pacity has almost doubled each year since 2005, with a 61 GW production in 2012. Absolute wind capacity is about 75 GW, and the infrastructure to connect wind farms to the electric grid is still being developed and installed.
Source: University of Southern California US-China Institute 27
Sustainability Sustainability is a key topic for China today. As of 2014, China ranks 118 of 178 countries on the Environmental Performance Index75. Even though the country received fairly low scores for ecosystem vitality in the maintenance of its water, agricultural, and fisheries resources, this is partly compensated for by an increasingly efficient health system and lowered mortality and morbidity rates75. This ranking also represents a 2.6% improvement over the past 10 years, indicating that progress is being made75. As the newest hub for energy efficient vehicles, renewable energy, and natural resource conservation, China is making extensive progress in sustainability73. The sustainability problem in China is directly linked to the trend of hyperexpansive growth based on industrial development76. The massive production of export goods since the introduction of the Open Door policy in 1978 also has resulted in extensive resource depletion76. Over 100 environmental laws and policies have been enacted in China since the 1970s, yet most of these measures remain largely ineffective76. Sustainable development has been a national strategy since 1994, but shortterm economic gain remains the most important priority72, 76. In examining this unrestrained growth, the linkages between economy, ecology, and sustainable development are being recognized and incorporated in major environmental decisions72. Positive signs are emerging. China’s nature reserve system currently occupies over 15% of Chinese territory, and the Natural Forest Conservation Program banned illegal logging after the devastating floods of 199876. China’s economy, which has so far been based on the “pollute first, clean up later” model, is slowly being replaced by a circular economy that applies the principles of
Source: 2014 Environmental Performance Index
“reduce, reuse, recycle” 76. China has also begun thinking of long-term sustainability, as shown by its plans to reduce CO2 emissions per unit GDP by 40 -45% of 2005 levels by 202076. There are currently over 80 low-carbon programs around the country working to develop GHG emissions inventories79. These inventories will be used to set measurable emissions reduction targets, carbontrading platforms, and carbon intensity standards for future progress79. Treeplanting programs, such as the Green Wall Project, are becoming fairly common, and aim to increase China’s forest cover from 5 to 15% in 70 years77. Even though environmental pressures and sustainability goals remain largely internal, clean technology and environmental awareness campaigns are expected to gain more traction in the near future73. The central government has viewed NGOs and other activist organizations with suspicion in the past, but their role in environmental advocacy is slowly expanding73. As the public becomes more educated and more aware, activism is 28
slowly changing urban environments to become more sustainable and efficient73. Since a significant portion of environmental problems stem from industry, progress has been made in introducing corporate metrics to measure sustainability. In 2008, China’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council required all state-owned enterprises to publish sustainability reports by 201274. 1,001 Chinese corporations produced sustainability reports in 2011, and the numbers continue to grow74. Unfortunately, many of these reports contain more rhetoric than meaningful measures of progress on sustainability74. Over 50% of companies used less than two metrics to measure sustainability74. State-owned enterprises assessed an average of 5.6 metrics per report, and this status quo is only expected to improve as the industry becomes more environmentally conscious74. There is also cause for concern in urban regions. The 2013 China Urban Sustain-
ability Index, released by the Urban China Initiative, indicates that new growth models may be needed for major Chinese cities to close the gap with benchmark international cities78. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Tianjin, are now facing limited environmental progress prospects due to growing populations and higher GDP78. The turning point for a city’s sustainability is shown to be around a population size of 4.5 million, a limit that many cities in China exceed78. This environmental development ceiling may hinder potential investments in reducing pollution and improving environmental markers in urban spaces78. At the same time, cities like Zhonghsan are working to preserve their natural capital while developing78. China is realizing that it costs significantly less to prevent a problem than to fix it, and urban spaces are slowly reevaluating their economic models to make room for environmental sustainability78. The next 25-50 years are slated to be crucial for environmental issues in China72. Although the world is working on carbon emissions and energy-saving measures, these issues remain intangible to most of China72. The country continues to focus on environmental health and safety, driven by pragmatism72. As an important market for “green” automobiles and renewable energies, China
is investing heavily in tracking and improving its environmental performance, and government officials are planning for further policy-mandated environmental progress in the years to come72. Byrne, John, and Bo Shen. "The Challenge of Sustainability: Balancing China's Energy, Economic and Environmental Goals." Energy Policy 24.5 (1996): 455-62. Print. 73 "China and Sustainability: Connecting the Dots between Economy and Ecology." Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.theguardian.com/sustainablebusiness/blog/china-sustainabilityeconomy-environment-ecology>. 74 DeFrancia, Kelsie. "Driving Sustainability in China – State of the Planet." The Earth Institute at Columbia University, 26 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. <http:// blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2014/02/26/ driving-sustainability-in-china/>. 75 "Environmental Performance Index." Environmental Performance Index. Yale University, n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http://epi.yale.edu/>. 72
Sources: The Economist: “Sylvan States” and “Shoots, Greens and Leaves” 29
Liu, Jianguo. "China’s Road to Sustainability." Science 2 Apr. 2010: n. pag. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http:// news.msu.edu/media/ documents/2010/03/7abf2fac-3545-4c4fbcd4-375ff176bd2c.pdf>. 77 Moxley, Mitch. "China's Great Green Wall Grows in Climate Fight." Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 23 Sept. 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/ environment/2010/sep/23/china-greatgreen-wall-climate>. 78 Sun, Celine. "Sustainability Reaching Its Limit in Top Chinese Cities." South China Morning Post. N.p., 17 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http:// www.scmp.com/business/economy/ article/1485913/sustainability-reachingits-limit-top-chinese-cities>. 79 "Yale Insights." What Should We Understand about Urbanization in China? The Yale School of Management, n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http:// insights.som.yale.edu/insights/whatshould-we-understand-abouturbanization-china>. 76