China is ahead of Europe and the US in creating ´green´ jobs, but environmental enforcement is still lagging, writes economic analyst Sara Hsu in Triple Crisis. Critical failures make big parts of the country uninhabitable.
China continues to lag behind in some critical ways. While environmental law enforcement has improved, as is evident in the number of environmental violation cases being brought to court, it is improving over very low levels. Air and water pollution levels are high, so high that air in Beijing is virtually unbreathable, and water in some industry-intensive locations is undrinkable. Carbon emissions are increasing. Agricultural and industrial production have had an adverse impact on the environment, including on levels of biodiversity.
So yes, China is on its way to creating thousands of “green” jobs, but there is so much more that needs to be done for China to be truly “green.” The extensive damage that has been wreaked on the environment by years of polluting industrial activity needs to be reversed, and this presents a very costly and time-consuming task. China also needs to go beyond acting as the solar photovoltaic panel-producing hub of the world to incorporate green energy and green living into its most populous areas. More “green” jobs can be created to implement pollution-controlling and greening technology in the industrial sector, ensure environmental health and safety, increase energy efficiency, better process waste, and research green technology.
When China starts to win its “war on pollution” and creates “green” jobs that reflect an underlying beneficent attitude toward the environment, the world will have cause to celebrate. Until then, we raise a glass to China in the hopes that the nation will push forward even more vigorously on its present course.
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