As China’s economy grows, the country faces long-term interlinked and mutually exclusive challenges. These ongoing challenges include air pollution, energy consumption and economic development influences. In fact, China is the epicenter of global economy and environmental change. Since 1980, China’s economy has multiplied tremendously. As a result, China was ranked the world’s sixth largest economy with a GDP of $1.65 trillion and the world’s second largest energy consumer. Additionally, China is the world’s largest coal consumer producing 40% of total global coal on an annual basis.
Like the United States, China depends on fossil fuel for energy supplies. Unfortunately, with a large scale of fossil fuel consumption, China must face severe environmental challenges.
Fossil fuel consumption: coal
Since 2014, China’s coal consumption has reached 4 billion metric tons which generates 80 percent of China’s electricity. Unfortunately, China must satisfy the high demand of decentralized boilers in the industrial and residential areas.
Because of its rapid economic growth, urbanization is rapidly reshaping the lives of the Chinese population (4). The introduction of industrial companies is producing a rapid increase in migration from urban to rural areas. This results in an increase of population in rural areas and generates a higher demand in those sectors for industrial production units. Hence the challenge of environmental sustainability. In fact, coal consumption is the main source of all of China’s airborne toxic heavy metals, global warming emissions and acid rain. The Chinese government has vowed to reduce/eliminate its air pollution issues.
Reshaping the coal sector
Currently, HC 2030 aims to transform China’s energy supply by targeting a coal price that will aid mines in operating profitably without cutting down China’s coal-fired power fleet. As a result, this sector could become strictly market-driven (3). Though it is critical for China to consistently reduce its coal consumption, restructuring this sector in the following decade might have an impact on China’s booming economy. Additionally, more man power will be required in the industrial sector which will create another challenge for China.
In 2017, China’s coal consumption rose for the first time in three years. This increase was due to an economic boost. Unfortunately, this is to show that China’s ambition to eliminate air pollution is still second to the country’s economic growth and restructuring that sector might affect the country’s future economic goals.
With the rapid economic growth and urbanization, the number of vehicles in China has made a significant increase. In fact, this number exceeded 200 million in 2010. As a result, China saw an increase in air pollutant such as CO, NOx, hydrocarbon (HC) and other particles. Although several researches have shown that air pollution is the cause of a mixture of vehicle emissions and coal burning, China has yet to reduce its vehicle production. The introduction of electric cars to the market is a great approach to fight China’s air pollution but promoting this is not a simple task (1). As of now, the electric car manufacturer Tesla is progressing slowly abroad. Perhaps if Tesla decides to produce in China, the Chinese population will be more lenient to the idea.
China has made remarkable effort in the development of renewable energy in the recent years. Currently, China is the world’s leader in wind power generation. As a result, China is getting a lot of attention from investors. The rapid expansion of installed capacity and total amount of renewable subsidies are mutually exclusive. Therefore, China must find a way to balance the subsidy deficit. Imposing an increase in consumer’s surcharge might not be the best solution as it may have a negative response. Additionally, it is imperative that China prioritize the quality of renewable energy instead of the quantity so that companies can focus on short-term profits. Industrial companies will then be more compliant to environmental regulations.
Economic development and china’s environment
The rapid growth of renewables brings along a financial burden that will force China to either reduce subsidies or eliminate them completely. The Chinese government should develop and introduce environmental taxes and showcase to the population the importance of this new tax reform. The government also will need to manage the subsidies and use them to support key technologies aiming to build a healthy environment.
Environmental depredations are a critical threat to China’s economic growth. In fact, this is costing China about 3 to 10 percent of its gross national income. The Asian Development Bank has already approved a $300 million loan to help China’s smog conundrum. So far, the cost of pollution is around $227 billion. This pose a major challenge for China because it forces the country to pursue oil and other fossil fuels abroad. Furthermore, when it comes to environmental burdens, doing business with China becomes a risk to other developing countries (5). If China’s economic growth continues, the government must be able to direct tax funding towards building a healthy country. This means that China must continue to make significant new investments across China’s health environment.
Healthy China 2030 (HC 2030) has set forward a plan to address the country’s environmental challenges. There is still a remaining decade to implement this plan. Recent analysis done by the International Energy Agency has shown that china has applied regulatory, administrative and political measures to minimize the impact of industrial development on environmental sustainability. However, the cost of cleaning the air and the water sources might plunge China into tremendous debt.
Healthy China 2030 is a great plan to enhance public health and to provide an effective response to the global commitments. For HC 2030 to be a success, many sectors must be considered, specially China’s environmental sector where the major challenges reside. It is crucial that the Chinese government revise approaches to reach the required healthy living standards and work towards eliminating the amount of remaining challenges. China must build and maintain a better environment for a better future. The following sectors must be assessed:
a. Prevention of diseases placed in the first place and enhancement of the health of all people
b. Reform of the medical and health care
c. Cultivation of a green, safe, and healthy environment
d. Promotion of the development of the health care industry
e. Enhancement of the construction of social policies and institutional systems
Although the government has brought forward HC 2030, we are still optimistic about the future of the Chinese environment. We must understand that this is a new administration with a new point of view on climate change. Therefore, this movement is a work in progress and has yet to encounter further obstacles. Furthermore, a country that was once reluctant to take a stand on environmental issues and climate change, is rapidly becoming a leader in climate change negotiations. China came a long way and deserves due credit for being ambitious towards its own environmental crisis. However, its economy keeps pointing that it cannot be assumed that the Chinese government will follow through on its promises.
Cite this essay
Building a healthy environment. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/building-a-healthy-environment-essay