China, the controversial Asian superpower, surprised the international community after it announced its newest efforts to promote sustainable green technology as part of their proposed changes. The largest Asian economy is currently investing heavily in green technology to reduce its major pollution problems.
Inhospitable Living Conditions
It’s no secret that China has extremely prominent pollution problems; air pollution being the foremost, but the conditions are so bad it affects both the people’s daily lives and working conditions. Beijing, China’s capital, is covered by a thick omnipresent smog that makes visibility nearly impossible. It is seriously affecting the health of the people living in the crowded city.
The inhospitable living conditions are so dire that half a million people in China die every year due to respiratory problems caused by pollution. The problem is due to the burning of coal as an energy resource, which China is heavily reliant on.
A report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality scale shows that China’s pollution rating is well above 200, which means the air is extremely unsafe to breathe. People are advised to stay indoors with an air purifier running in such conditions, which just shows how serious China’s air pollution problem really is.
The issues did not escape the eye of those in power, and finally, the government seems to be taking the right course of action in terms of addressing the problem with pollution. President Xi Jinping, after announcing a cap-and-trade program that would begin sometime in 2017, said, “We should firmly pursue green, low-carbon, circular, and sustainable development. China will shoulder its share of responsibility.”
A Slow and Steady Pace
The power statement is more than just for show though, as China is keeping true to their word, despite the change happening relatively slower than anticipated. In the first few months of 2015 alone, China’s coal usage dipped down by 8%. This shows that the country is sincere in making changes to better the environmental conditions of its people and the world at large.
Bloomberg New Energy predicts that if China continues its proposed environmental changes, the country’s power sector carbon emissions would go on a decline by 2027. Despite this, they aren’t confident that China would fully stop using coal as a resource and predict that it would continue to make up over 50% of the country’s energy.
China’s ‘Green Leap Forward’ is a reminder to other heavily industrialized countries that the preservation of the environment isn’t just for the benefit of the planet, but also for the people living in it. Although the country’s critics say that the proposed changes will only be temporary, only time will tell if China would truly start going green instead of going gray.