Mission of ChinaMusings

August 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

China today faces a host of environmental challenges: air pollution, water contamination, food scarcity, energy management, desertification, species extinction, and the like.  These challenges may appear to be China’s alone, but increasingly we’ve come to recognize their global effect—and the need for global cooperation in addressing them.   (This isn’t to suggest that China alone is culpable in threatening the planet’s environment; after all, in the U.S., in 2009, our per capita energy consumption was 4 times that of China and our carbon emission was three times China’s.)

Understanding China’s environmental issues is the first step.  But this is no simple task.  English-language coverage in the major media remains limited, focusing largely on the catastrophic: oil spills, floods and landslides, “hydroelectric dislocations” of villages, and melamined milk.

Of course, these crises deserve coverage.  But so too do the everyday problems—and the efforts being made to ameliorate them.  How, for instance, are the Chinese government and the Chinese people responding to:  toxic runoff from the heavy application of pesticides; the drying up of aquifers; the explosive rise in automobile ownership; a dietary trend away from grain and toward meat; the use of energy-intensive appliances by the general public; the dependence by some peoples on forests as a fuel source; the growth of satellite cities and their potential toll on the environment; and the grids inability to keep pace with the growing production of renewables, to name just a few of the problems?

At issue, too, is how there might be global cooperation on environmental matters.  How, especially, can the U.S. and China begin to work together, to consider constructive approaches to keeping the world greener and healthier?

California and Governor Schwarzenegger offer a small but significant example.  In their commitment to the development of automobiles that run on renewable energy, they have welcomed BYD (Build Your Dreams), a Chinese leader in the manufacture of hybrid and electric cars, to set up shop in Los Angeles.  Confident that this move will promote technology transfer, the demand for efficient cars, and 150 new jobs–all at the same time–the Governor proclaimed, “Like California, BYD is a company of firsts. They are leading China and the rest of the world into a cleaner, more sustainable future with their automobiles and renewable energy products while creating jobs and saving consumers money. I welcome BYD with open arms and look forward to growing California’s relationship with China to mutually benefit the environment and economy.”

ChinaMusings is not a site that will report breaking news.  It is a site that aims, through observations and commentary on stories in the media, to promote a better understanding of the environmental conditions in China today.

In your comments, please suggest how ChinaMusings can be a stimulating and useful site for you.

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