As China welcomes in the year of the Dragon, Charlotte Reid looks at what the country has contributed to the environment in the past year.
Blue & Green Tomorrow would like to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year as celebrations begin for the year of the dragon.
Environmentally, China is a country of extremes, as the past year has seen it planning for a sustainable future whilst still relying heavily on old dirty energy.
In 2011, China overtook America to become the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter. The country now accounts for 24.3% of the world’s carbon emissions.
There were also new revelations that Chinese factories were making their employees work 140 hours overtime a month, were paid wages later, told to work in silence, and fined for going to the toilet without permission – all so that people to have an enjoyable present filled Christmas time. This behaviour was revealed by Hong Kong human rights group, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) as part of an investigation called Making Toys Without Joy.
However, China did criticise Canada for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, saying it was “setting a bad example” to other developed countries. The Asian Dragon then went on to agree to the deal at Durban to implement a new climate treaty.
As we start to see problems, and stresses emerge in the water system, China is already working on creating new supplies of fresh water by investing in a multi-million dollar infrastructure to become one of the world’s leading exporters of desalinated water.
On top of that, China has evolved into a huge player in clean technology over the past decade, bringing in over £40 billion a year through the industry. It is increasing its production of green technologies by 77% each year and has overtaken America’s cleantech usage.
With China’s two approaches to the future, it shows that this New Year the country should focus on treating its people with respect and developing ways to make the future more environmentally friendly. Then the year of the dragon should be a prosperous one.
It’s not too late to take up some New Year resolutions. The WWF made a list of environmentally friendly resolutions which if followed would help the planet out and William Vooght from Good Energy suggested some simple carbon reducing ideas for around the home.
You can also make an impact with where you invest your money. Talk to your IFA about the options of investing ethically and sustainably. If you don’t have one then fill in our online form and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist ethical adviser.