China’s Environmental Crisis

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

THANKS: Eleanor Albert, Online Writer/Editor, and Beina Xu
Updated: January 18, 2016

Introduction

China’s environmental crisis is one of the most pressing challenges to emerge from the country’s rapid industrialization. Its economic rise, in which GDP grew on average 10 percent each year for more than a decade, has come at the expense of its environment and public health. China is the world’s largest source of carbon emissions, and the air quality of many of its major cities fails to meet international health standards. Life expectancy north of the Huai River is 5.5 years lower than in the south due to air pollution (life expectancy in China is 75.3 according to 2013 UN figures). Severe water contamination and scarcity have compounded land deterioration. Environmental degradation threatens to undermine the country’s growth and exhausts public patience with the pace of reform. It has also bruised China’s international standing and endangered domestic…

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