Video sounds environmental alarm bell

Updated: 2015-03-02 08:53

By Fu Jing(China Daily)

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The environmental problems Chai examines in the video have already put the end to high-speed growth of China. For decades, China's economy expanded at sizzling two-digit rates. But even before Premier Li Keqiang announces his government's 2015 GDP target on Thursday, when he kicks off this year's session of the National People's Congress, the media has already speculated on the possibility that the number will be less than the 7.4 percent realized last year. The leadership have said that the country has changed gears and this slower growth is the "new normal".

People in China can easily see for themselves the environmental pressures behind this gearchange. But in the West, while commentators point accusing fingers at China's environmental pollution, they worry about the impact its slower growth will have on the global economy. They are prone to look at economic growth and the environmental issues as separate, even though as early as the 1970s people in the West were already warning that the finite resources, industrial pollution and increase of population could not sustain the economic growth.

In fact, with an economic output in 2014 of more than $10 trillion, twice as large as that of Japan, though still behind the US, China's growth rate of 7.4 percent is more or less equal to 10 percent growth in the past.

More importantly, the quality of growth matters to China. A better and improved environment, fresh air and clean water are essential for people's well-being and sustainable growth in the future. In this regard, China is now at the tipping point. If there is no progress in the coming five years, the consequences are likely to irreversible, which is the stark warning Chai has given the top political advisory and legislative bodies ahead of their sessions.

The author is China Daily chief correspondent in Brussels.

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