Every once in a while I like to ruffle people’s feathers by calling China the most progressive country in the world. Is it? I wouldn’t even know how to begin qualifying that statement, but certainly, from a quantitative view, China is the Vin Diesel of reform: fast and furious, hit and miss.
One thing I admire about the Chinese is their sense of urgency. In a country increasingly eco-ambitious, the government’s efforts to tackle social and environmental issues have been forthright. History’s largest urbanization has forced the CCP’s hand, but it has– at least domestically– shown plenty of bravado.
The Project 2049 Institute recently took a look at the boom-and-bust nature of China’s on-going efforts to build sustainable eco-cities. The article, “The Rise of China’s Eco-cities: A Harbinger of a Sustainable Future?”, does a laudable job of providing some perspective to the country’s pursuits.
If successfully implemented, China’s efforts at constructing eco-cities would not only revamp the urban landscape and improve high-density living conditions, but also reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. China’s eco-construction sector is an attractive, profitable investment opportunity despite the existence of bureaucratic boundaries, but such projects are at risk of failure due to abandonment, unaffordability, poor management, and lack of local expertise.
China had as many as 168 eco-projects underway by last year, according to the institute. In a country nearing the brink of complete ecological collapse, the scale of the solution must match that of the problem: massive.
Now, there’s a lot of rhetoric to sort through when it comes to discussing the environment in China and how it’s handling eco-crises. Let me say this, while the government certainly didn’t do itself any favors in Copenhagen a few years back, it did what it had to. As long as the economy is stable, the CCP will have plenty of spare change to drop on projects like eco-cities and to invest in green technology. These guys aren’t imbeciles. They can see the writing on the wall– it’s in green crayon. A child could read it.
The message, to paraphrase GG, is clear: “Green is good.” It’s going to line the pockets of the next great superpower. So, yes, the question so often repeated is a valid one: Is China going to lead the world’s green economy?
Tough to say at this point– but I haven’t heard of 168 eco-cities under construction in the US.