Amid news of massive layoffs and financial uncertainty, New Scientist sheds a ray of hope on the Middle Kingdom, reporting on China’s new five-year plan for a greener tomorrow:
This will involve a big switch towards renewable energy and increasing consumption of produce domestically.
That’s the main message from the Chinese government’s draft 13th five-year plan, unveiled in Beijing on 5 March and expected to be adopted this week.
The “new normal” will involve a shift to moderate rather than dramatic economic growth, based more on consumption than exports.
“This is a big shift in how China is thinking about its economy,” said Kate Gordon of the Paulson Institute, a sustainable energy think-tank based in Chicago, Illinois, at a press conference last week. “It’s an attempt to decouple economic growth from energy consumption.”
Central to the planned move away from heavy industry is a nationwide effort to reduce dependence on coal, the dirtiest fuel in terms of carbon emissions.
Indeed, China’s carbon emissions may have already peaked, according to a new report by economist Lord Stern to be published this week.
Much of the impetus for change has come from the Chinese public in response to record levels of coal-related air pollution in recent years in some major cities.
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