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Has China’s Shift moved Global Carbon Trends?

Concerns surround China's economy, but how bad is it?

Two interesting reports add up to what could be a big shift in the global economy with implications for the environment. Although of course anything China does adds up to something big.

Ken Hoffman of Bloomberg Intelligence suggests that China may be following through on its promise to shift the economy from breakneck growth.  Hoffman actually used the phrase “enough is enough” – coincidentally (I think?) the name of the book being used in the undergraduate seminar on Rethinking Prosperity that highlights economic opportunities to moves beyond a focus on GDP.

If you put all [the Chinese localities] together, [they] plan to build homes for 3.4 billion people. Well, they only have 1.2 billion people.

Hoffman claims the “Under the Dome” documentary about pollution, said to be China’s Silent Spring moment of environmental awakening, is actually manifesting in real shifts.   They’re moving away from real estate and overgrowth.  Although to where they shift this massive pool of money – the stock market apparently – is a somewhat scary thought for the global economy.

What makes this doubly interesting is that it coincides with a report that came out last week saying, for nearly the first time ever, carbon emission and GDP show decoupling, a failure to move at lockstep at the global level.  Some were skeptical and specifically cited China as a reason for doubt. The picture on the ground may be quite different from what’s being reported, and perhaps China is flirting with the type of structural change in the economy that’s needed to slow climate change.

Image:  Screenshot from PBS Newshour

1 Comment

  1. Crysti

    Well, I thinks few weeks ago, a fairly popular Chinese reporter self-funded documentary warned all Chinese how bad the air were after being polluted, especially in places coal, oil extraction as the primary economic income. I found there are environmental policies come out front during the past few weeks and the society has been inprevelently paying attention to the environmental issue. So there might be a turning point just around the corner to balance with market structure adjustment.

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