China’s explosive growth. A rapidly deteriorating natural environment. A rapidly increasing middle class at least 3-4 times larger than America’s, with similar tastes.
“Since opening up its economy 30 years ago, China has gone from being a nation of bicycle riders to being the world’s largest car market. But now its major cities face traffic gridlock. To clear the roads, Beijing’s government has started a lottery system for new car licenses. Cars are among the new status symbols of China’s growing middle class. New passenger car sales in China last year rose 33 percent to 13.8 million.”
Well at least the USA was tops in oil consumption as of 2007. China’s coming up fast and so is India.
This distinction as the world’s largest user of the world’s dirtiest fuel isn’t something to be proud of, it’s the source of our country’s greatest weakness. Unless you own an oil company or an oil well.
Along with almost every other developed country, trash is China’s problem too.
From the MSNBC article:
At least 85 percent of China’s seven billion tons of trash is in landfills, much of it in unlicensed dumps in the countryside. Most have only thin linings of plastic or fiberglass. Rain drips heavy metals, ammonia, and bacteria into the groundwater and soil, and the decomposing stew sends out methane and carbon dioxide.
Regulations allow incinerators to emit 10 times the level of dioxins permitted in the U.S., and these release cancer-causing dioxins and other poisons, according to a Chinese government study.
Link to full article.