An environmental activist has warned that the pace of China’s economic growth could pose a dire threat for the planet unless Beijing and other industrial countries change their outdated model of production and consumption.
According to Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, as China surpasses the U.S. in the consumption of most basic resources, economists must grasp the need to restructure the “old economy.” This was related during a presentation on his new book, “Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble.”
China already consumes almost twice as much meat as the U.S., and more than twice as much steel, Brown said, according to figures compiled by his institute. Built on fossil fuels, cars and disposable products, the western economic model cannot function in such a populous country as China, or in India, where the population will surpass China’s in 2031. Brown added that at a time of globalization and intense competition to produce more at ever lower prices, the contemporary economic model is doomed.
To avert disaster, the world must embrace renewable energy, move to eradicate poverty, stabilize population and restore natural resources. Currently five to eight Chinese enterprises in electronics and aerospace have announced plans to employ wind power, in cooperation with General Electric.