China’s economic transformation over three decades has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But impressive economic growth rates in the world’s largest country have come with heavy environmental costs. The air in many of China’s major cities is the most polluted in the world. The water in many major Chinese rivers is unfit for irrigation. Soils in key agricultural regions are contaminated by heavy metals. Scarce arable land and water resources and important biodiversity are being lost. China’s carbon and nitrous oxide emissions are having serious impacts both in China and at a global scale.
China urgently needs to shift to a more sustainable economic model. Future growth will need to delivers jobs and additional poverty reduction without further undermining ecosystems and the natural resource base. This means rethinking links between energy and climate change and land and water use. But changing institutions, policy and practice to support this is far from easy. This book, which brings together writings from China’s leading thinkers on sustainable development, reflects on experiences to date, such as experiments with Green GDP accounting, and implementation of Green for Grain, the world’s biggest reforestation programme, as well as China’s role in climate negotiations. Clear ideas are presented on what needs to change in China (and elsewhere), and on how to deliver economic development with better social and environmental outcomes.
The book is produced by IIED and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, with the support of the Ford Foundation.
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