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Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, believes that China is a great example of human success. The speed and power of its economic growth, and its contribution to the development of new technologies are shining examples of what humanity is capable of; however, at the same time, China’s success could kill the planet.
“If you worry about climate change and stuff like that, then China is -- Chinese growth is a wonderful human success story that could kill us all,” he stated at a recent New York Times DealBook conference.
Chinese growth is a huge boost to the whole global economy, yet the manner in which that growth is fuelled is proving deadly to the climate. Krugman noted that, “to some extent actually, we are hurt by Chinese growth. ... There are scarce natural resources, and we are in fact competing for limited supplies of oil, minerals, etc.”
China, the largest polluter in the world, cares little for its impact on the environment as it looks to accelerate its development into a first world super power. As proven by a recent story that one of China's biggest construction companies, Pacific Construction Group, plans to spend $3.52 billion to flatten 700 mountains over an area of 500 square miles in order to expand the city of Lanzhou.
Yet even so, it may surprise you to know that China actually has a smaller average carbon footprint per person than the US, and most of its greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to production processes for its export industries, and can therefore be partly blamed on other first world countries.
Krugman suggests that the only solution is for the US to treat China with more respect and give them more of a say in trade policies. “You can't deny them a position that corresponds with their size.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com