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China’s Economic Growth And Its Environmental Impact

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

China’s rapid growth and its profound effect on the environment.

Pollution and power lines in northern China. (Adam Cohn/Flickr)

Pollution and power lines in northern China. (Adam Cohn/Flickr)

Smelly foam oozing from the streets of Beijing. Smog so thick, you can’t see the next block. China is home to one fifth of humanity.   It produces a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and receives almost half of all the coal burned on earth.  And, its appetite for energy won’t peak for years.

How did the air, water, wildlife and dirt in China get so bad? What can be done to fix it?  Our guest today warns of global environmental disaster and he’s in the thick of it.

This hour On Point:  China’s assault on Planet Earth.

Guests

Craig Simons, author of “The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World” and a longtime reporter in Asia for various newspapers.

Book Excerpt

Read Chapter 1 of “The Devouring Dragon”

From The Reading List

The Guardian: China’s Environmental Problems Are Grim, Admits Ministry Report — “The 2012 Environmental Conditions Report addressed water and air pollution, the two types of pollution that have received the most attention over recent months. The report found that 57.3% of the groundwater in 198 cities in 2012 was “bad” or “extremely bad”, while more than 30% of the country’s major rivers were “polluted” or “seriously polluted”. According to the ministry’s report, the air in only 27 out of 113 key cities reached air quality standards last year.”

The New York Times: U.S. And China Move Closer On North Korea, But Not On Cyberespionage — “Although the leaders of the world’s two biggest powers made no public statements on their second day of talks, their disagreements — over cyberattacks as well as arms sales to Taiwan, maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea and manipulation of the Chinese currency — spilled into the open when senior officials from both countries emerged to describe the meetings in detail.”

Bloomberg: Water Management Biggest Risk To China Shale Gas, Bernstein Says — “China is the “biggest shale opportunity” outside of the U.S., according to Bernstein. The country has the world’s largest shale gas resources, estimated at 4,746 trillion cubic feet (134.4 trillion cubic meters), it said, citing data from the Ministry of Land and Resources and the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

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