China

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Given the rapid development of new technologies and unprecedented increases in population growth rates that are emblematic of the ‘electronic era’ in which we live, it is important to ask whether or not it is possible to sustain these levels of growth and productivity without permanently damaging our planet’s ecosystem. In other words, are private firms, government entities, and households placing sufficient emphasis on long-term ecological sustainability? By examining China’s recent boom in economic growth, marked by growth rates averaging 10% over the last 30 years, as well as the country’s similarly recent and large-scale increase in air pollution that scientists say now resembles that of a “nuclear winter” , we’ll attempt to critically evaluate the issue of air pollution and natural resource consumption, discussing any related policy proposals within China, and weighing both the costs and benefits of either unregulated or ecologically conscious economic expansion. By examining the issue of Chinese air pollution and natural resource consumption we’ll be better equipped to answer the question of whether larger scale, global economic development will have any irreversible impact on environmental conditions. In order to better understand the repercussions of excess natural resource consumption and pollution, however, we must first understand the importance of these resources to the growth of global economies. Natural resources including water, coal, oil, plant material, basic minerals such as tin, aluminum, steel, copper and the like, are the backbone of every economy. In using and transforming these resources for the production of goods and services, capital stocks in the economy are built up to add to global wealth. However, th... ... middle of paper ... ...problem. Nations around the world, including those considered developed in terms of relatively high GDPs and per capita incomes, continue to pollute the environment and consume earth’s resources at alarming rates. To break the economic habits that contribute to increases in CO2 levels, global warming, and excessive natural resource consumption, scientists like Tapia Granados say, “societies around the world would need to make enormous changes.” Short run solutions such as CO2 taxes levied on any manufacturers producing excess emissions will incentivize firms to invest in the research and technology necessary for long-term sustainability. Nonetheless studies like that of Professor Kenneth Arrow and Professor Tapia Grenados suggest that climate change will have a serious impact on the world and its inhabitants and the time is growing short to take corrective action.

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