From The New York Times:
China has a long ways to go when it comes to its environment. I understand that the country has done a lot and appears to be doing more. But it still has a far, far way to go. Xi'an's perma-gray skies and oppressive air are things I'm not missing at all.
MONTREAL — The staggering economic growth in China has come at a heavy cost, paid in severe contamination of the country’s air, soil and water. But now the Chinese government is aggressively pursuing more stringent environmental regulation, with a particular focus on water distribution and wastewater treatment.
Recent stimulus spending has opened up the Chinese market to green initiatives. And Canadian companies are responding to the call for advanced water treatment and reuse technology.
“It’s not well known that China has set aside more money for the adoption of clean technologies than any other country on the planet,” said Dallas Kachan, managing director of Cleantech Group in San Francisco, which tracks global investment in clean technologies.
The Chinese economic stimulus package of 4 trillion yuan, or $585 billion, announced a year ago, focused nearly 40 percent of its spending on environmental and energy-efficient projects.
China’s water shortage, especially in the northern part of the country, is driving a need for wastewater recycling. “Right now, only 30 to 40 percent of the wastewater gets treated in China,” said Steve Watzeck, president of engineered systems at G.E. Water. “But we understand that Beijing aims to reuse 100 percent of its wastewater by 2013. Implementing advanced wastewater reuse technologies is key to China’s continued industrial growth.”
China’s capability in clean water technology is still underdeveloped. But the country’s solar industry is an example of how quickly it can sprint to the fore. Mr. Kachan of Cleantech Group, points out that Suntech Power, the Chinese company that a year ago became the world’s leading maker of crystalline silicon solar modules, did not exist eight years ago.
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I like to see that China committed 40% of its stimulus to green growth. Where did America allocate its? Failed banks, Detroit, etc. As the film producer Robert Compton told me a few weeks ago, "China's stimulus is building while ours is bailing." Whereas I've criticized China in the past about saving face to the detriment of its economy and people, the United States could definitely be criticized for the same thing when it comes to shelling out billions to failed companies such as GM and AIG.
Americans, more and more, don't believe in global warming. I'm wondering if this attitude is going to lead us to continue the attitude that we'll be able to drill our way out of any future energy problems. It's apparent that a significant number of Americans already believe such will be the case. If this thinking continues, I have to think that America is going to be left behind.
Shanxi, Shaanxi, and many other Chinese provinces are going to continue to pump out coal and China is going to continue to get oil from Africa and the Middle East. But China does deserve credit for making efforts towards serious green growth.