China is applauded for being one of the economies in the world that are growing at an accelerating pace. The size of the Chinese economy has undoubtedly swelled to match the most advanced economies in the world, like the United States. However, it is argued that economic growth in China has resulted in a high level of pollution.
This paper presents a discussion on how China is trying to change its environmental focus by reviewing the article titled: “Changes and challenges: China’s environmental management in transition”.
Change in environmental performance in China
The rise in the level of environmental degradation coming from intensive industrialization has raised a considerable number of questions on whether the environmental situation in the country can be reversed. According to the paper, the Chinese government is showing a lot of commitment as far as steering programs of sustainable economic development is concerned.
Prospects of positive development in economic and environmental sustainability programs have been reported in several government funded surveys. An example is the China’s Millennium Development Goals report for the year 2010, which implies that the government of China has shown positive prospects of transforming the mode of economic growth (He, Lu, Mol & Beckers, 2012).
The statistical outcome of the research in the article denotes a downward trend in the level of toxic substances emission in the Chinese economy. The outcomes are debatable since a substantial number of researches (Balme, 2011) denote that the level of enforcement of sustainability standards in Chinese firms in mainland China is still low, thereby denoting a considerable release of pollutants to the environment.
The virtue of being sponsored by the government makes the research to show positive prospects of sustainable economic development in China.
Phases of development in environmental management
The article reports about the quest for environmental management in China. The Chinese government came into the limelight on issues of sustainability towards the last quarter of the 20th century. This is a sound observation since this is the period when the country was witnessing a transformation from a weak economy to a newly industrializing economy through massive industrial activities.
The first phase of the transformation of the Chinese economy was steered by the need for the country to catch up with the advanced economies of the world. The agenda of the environment was not given attention as the country increased the rate of exploitation of natural resources as a way of helping it establish industries (He, Lu, Mol & Beckers, 2012).
While the paper denotes the commitment of the government of China to prevent and control pollution in the second phase, it is doubted whether the government of China really showed commitment to enhance environmental sustainability during the mentioned period.
Even in the third phase that denotes the contemporary times, the rate of integrating environment sustainability in economic development is quite low. The rationale behind this observation is that the incorporation of environmental programs in the economy leads to slowdown in the pace of economic growth.
Enforcement of environmental policies
He, Lu, Mol and Beckers (2012) observed that a lot of policies on environmental sustainability have been developed. However, the rate of implementation of these policies in quite low considering the fact that full implementation of such policies has implications on the rate of economic growth.
This is what China values most. So far it can be argued that the Chinese government has not owned the initiatives of enforcing environmental programs in the economy. The mere existence of policies and the seeming implementation of the policies come from the global pressure on the need for the country to limit the levels of pollution.
Balancing economic goals and the needs for sustaining the environment remains to be a resounding challenge in as far as China still embraces economic growth for the sustainability of its large population. However, the growth of external pressure is mounting and is bound to force the government of China to enforce environmental policies for the sake of the global environment.
Balme, R. (2011). China’s climate change policy: Governing at the core of globalization. Carbon & Climate Law Review, 5(1), 44-56.
He, G., Lu, Y., Mol, A. P. J., & Beckers, T. (2012). Changes and challenges: China’s environmental management in transition. Environmental Development, 3, 25-38.