Wednesday, October 22, 2008


China, Economic Growth, and Smog

Yesterday the financial papers had top-of-the-paper headlines reporting significantly lower growth rates for the Chinese economy.

The FT: 'China growth rate slows sharply.'

The WSJ: 'China Slows, World Feels the Pain.' From this report: "For the year, China's growth is likely to be below 10% for the first time since 2002."

So I found it interesting this morning to read one of my favorite blogs -- by James Fallows, an American journalist who writes on and lives in China -- and receive a first-hand account of China's environmental issues. Mr. Fallows wrote:

Beijing, 3pm, October 22, 2008 -- 32 days after the Olympic/Paralympic emergency "clean air" rules came to an end. Feels like home again!

And he included the picture above, which I have taken from him.

My thoughts turned to China's willingness to prioritize environmental challenges in the face of what seems like a firm commitment on their part to maintan double-digit (or at least very high) growth rates. I don't consider economic growth and a livable environment to be a choice of either/or. But in China's case they don't seem to have yet figured out how to have both.

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