Tuesday, 10 March 2009

More China News

Whilst we're on the subject of China, a couple of other items on the environmental blog caught my eye.

- Firstly, China has its own economic stimulus package (worth around $585bn) aimed at revitalising the country's cooling economy, as caijing.com.cn reported. There are seven areas of investment from infrastructure to education to recovery plans in earthquake-hit Sichuan Province. The breakdown is:

This is a revised plan and 'Sustainable environment' has lost out, falling from 9% to 5% of the total. On the other hand, 'Technology advances' has been increased from 4% to 9% of the total and there are undoubtedly some green tech investments in there.

- The other item of note was a report on a paper about the economic crisis (or crisis in capitalism as it was put) and the impact on China. It was an attempt to show that capitalism is ultimately anti-environment. The blog quoted the following section:

"Capitalism’s ultimate solution to ecological problems - since fundamental changes in the system itself are off limits - is technological. But any technological gains in efficiency in the use of natural resources are overwhelmed by the extensive and ecologically disruptive pattern of growth that characterises this rapacious system. Hence, capitalism is a failed system where ecological sustainability is concerned."

To paraphrase, only technology can overcome our environmental problems, but economic growth in a capitalist system will outstrip technology's ability to save the planet. I've been in some recent discussions along these lines with some senior IT managers and other green IT analysts. It does seem that only strong central government regulation/legislation will save the day, and that is, ultimately, likely to impact economic growth. Discuss.

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