Development Outpacing Efficiency in China
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There is a fascinating - and terrifying - race going on in China.
The government has displayed an extraordinary commitment to cutting carbon emissions and eliminating industrial waste. In the past three years, they have shut down more than 1000 inefficient coal-fired power plants. They have become the world's biggest investor in clean energy technology. And they have recently adopted world-class efficiency standards for both automobiles and lighting.
As impressive as that commitment has been, according to Keith Bradsher of the New York Times, "the effort is being overwhelmed by the billionfold demands of Chinese consumers."
The economy continues to grow, and China is changing:
Aspiring to a more Western standard of living, in many cases with the government’s encouragement, China’s population, 1.3 billion strong, is clamoring for more and bigger cars, for electricity-dependent home appliances and for more creature comforts like air-conditioned shopping malls.
It is hard to imagine that population not getting those things. But it is time to imagine how they get them without destroying the planet.