China's Environmental Tipping Point?
China In and Beyond the Headlines, Timothy Weston, Lionel Jensen, eds., Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2012
12 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012 Last revised: 28 Oct 2017
Date Written: 2012
China’s remarkable economic rise over the last three decades has placed tremendous pressure on the environment, damaged natural resources, and increased risks to human health. To be sure, human activity has had significant impact on China’s environment for thousands of years. Nonetheless, the pace of China’s economic growth since 'reform and opening' in the late 1970s – averaging 9 percent annually – and the role China has taken on in recent decades as the 'factory to the world' has exacerbated the country’s environmental challenges and created a host of new environmental problems, both domestically and internationally. On the domestic front, China’s environmental problems include pollution of air, water, and soil, water shortages, desertification and soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and habitat, and a range of other issues. At the international level, China is a major contributor to global environmental issues, such as climate change, ozone depletion, and trade in endangered species, as well as regional issues, such as trans-boundary air and water pollution.
This article evaluates competing trends affecting the state of China’s environment.
Keywords: China, environment, environmental protection, regulation, law, public participation, civil society, coal, natural resources, climate change
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