Urge for Green Technological Transformation

United Nations released World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation, a report analyzed the positive and negative impact of several government energy policies and called for governments’ urgent action to accelerate green technology transformation. The report emphasized three reasons why governments need to put green technological transformation high on their agenda:

  • Sustainable energy transition: 

A global sustainable energy transition needs to be achieved within four decades, a significantly faster rate than in the past…Global sustainable energy policy must take into special consideration the 3 billion poor people who aspire to gaining access to electricity and modern energy services.

  • Towards a truly green revolution for food security:

Food security must now be attained through green technology so as to reduce the use of chemical inputs (fertilizers and pesticides) and to make more efficient use of energy, water and natural resources, as well as through significant improvement of storage facilities, and marketing to reduce waste.

  • Reducing human harm from natural hazards:

The frequency of natural disasters, especially in the form of floods and storms, has quintupled over the past 40 years, the elevated disaster risk being partly due to the effects of climate change. Developing countries bear a higher share of the adverse consequences of that increased risk.

See and download the full report:  World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation

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Call for Economy Transformation

Now that China has been buffeted by global financial crisis for more than a year, it is time for China to start economy transformation, urged the Editorial Board of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China in an editorial.

The article argued that China is depended too much on international trade, which leads to economy prosperous, but also makes the whole system fragile. China should improve the production capabilities and technical skills of its own industries, rather than taking advantage of the cheap labor market.

I like this article because it gets the point of China’s weakness. China has been focusing too much on the GDP growing, and it really does a good job on it. But if China still relies on the cheap labor to produce the raw materials, without developing its own high-technology and high-end manufacturing industries, its economy cannot be considered as healthy.

The raw products like billet, rolled steel, refined oil and plastic are closely depended on the global climate. If the global market is manipulated by the industry giants or international speculators, China could do nothing but bear it.

An article called “Problems of China’s steel industry” tells what happened to China’s steel industry last year:

In 2009, industrial capacity exceeded 700 million tons while the domestic market could only consume about 560 million. The excess capacity is estimated at over 100 million tons. The situation may worsen this year as analysts predict demand will continue to lag behind supply.

China’s steel overcapacity is also a bad news for the environment. An article published on Chinastakes described its environmental problem:

China has overtaken the US as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), to which steel industry contributes no small part.

Just before the Copenhagen climate conference, China promised to lower emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. As many countries, developed and developing, pointed out, this is the promise of merely a slowdown and not a cut of emissions, and pressure on China to get serious is increasing. The US Congress is even now considering levying penalties against imported products from high emission processes, and also including in climate change legislation additional tariffs on imported steel and other energy-intensive products to offset alleged competitive harm to domestic industries, should other countries not commit to equivalent GHG reductions. China is the key target, and he steel issue threatens to pass currency valuation as the most contentious trade issue between it and the United States.

It is an urgent need for China to transform from low-technology and polluting manufacturing to high-technology and eco-friendly industries. Being the fastest economy growing country is good, but China should also realize that GDP is not everything.

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