Monday, March 7, 2011

China to slow GDP growth in bid to curb emissions
The announcement that economic growth targets will be lowered from 8% to 7% over the next five years may mark the end of China's peak growth years as environmental constraints drive up the expense of resources and pollution control.

'In China's thousands of years of civilisation, the conflict between humanity and nature has never been as serious as it is today,' the environment minister Zhou Shengxian wrote on his ministry's website.

'The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the deterioration of the environment have become serious bottlenecks constraining economic and social development.'

In an online discussion on Sunday, the premier, Wen Jiabao, said China's 2011-15 economic plan would lower the target for annual GDP growth – 'to raise the quality and efficiency of economic growth'.

He said: 'We absolutely cannot again sacrifice the environment as the cost for high-speed growth, to have blind development, and in that way to create over-capacity and put greater pressure on the environment and resources. That economic development is unsustainable.'
A similar line emerged from a report released last Friday by Tsinghua University's climate policy initiative. It noted that from 2000-10, China's GDP grew at an annual rate of 10.4%, which took it from sixth to second place in the world. Per capita GDP in that period rose from $996 to $4,300.

China's energy demand, meanwhile, has surged by 220%, compared to a world average of 20%. Since 2006, the country has accounted for 75% of the global increase in coal consumption and 60% of the increase in oil use.
But demographic pressures are easing. China's population increase of 6.3 million people in 2010 was the lowest for many years.
by Jonathan Watts
The Guardian,
February 28, 2011

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