The rise of a “green” China will offer new business opportunities to Thailand and other Asean countries, according to an investment seminar held by The Nation, Kasikornbank and China Daily.
The focus is now on Chinas 12th five-year national economic and social development plan, covering the years from now until the end of 2015, and its new Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation PBG programme, in which Thailand is a regional partner.
According to Li Jiping, executive vice president of China Development Corp, which is in charge of the PBG programme, China will invest 2.6 trillion yuan Bt12.15 trillion in it over the next five years. That amount is more than Thailands gross domestic product of about Bt11 trillion.
A Thammasat University expert on China, Aksornsri Phanishsarn, told the seminar that the massive investment was earmarked for three Chinese provinces: Guangzhou, Guangxi and Hainan, all of which were positioned for linkages with Asean countries, including Thailand.She said China was rebalancing its economy to solve problems including the uneven development between coastal and inner areas, environmental problems and over-dependence on exports.
The environment in the People’s Republic of China has traditionally been neglected as the country concentrates on its rise as an economic power.Despite a recent interest in environmental reform, pollution has made cancer the leading cause of death in 30 cities and 78 counties, the Ministry of Health says.
Only 1 percent of the country’s 560 million city inhabitants (2007) breathe air deemed safe by the European Union. Chinese industry scores very poorly in energy efficiency. Chinese steel factories use one-fifth more energy per ton than the international average. Cement needs 45 percent more power, and ethylene needs 70 percent more than the average, the World Bank says. China receives pollution from both ends of the supply chain: during production process and by allowing electronic waste to be recycled and dumped in the country.
Dangers to workers from environmental pollutants are significant in China; a well-publicized example of this involved 49 employees at Wintek who were poisoned by n-hexane in the manufacturing of touchscreens for Apple products.
Lu Guang (卢广), freelancer photographer
Lu Guang (卢广), freelancer photographer, started as an amateur photographer in 1980. He was a factory worker, later started his own photo studio and advertising agency. August of 1993 he returned to post-graduate studies at the Central Arts and Design Academy in Beijing (now is the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University). During graduate school, he studied, traveled all over the country and carved out a career, became the “dark horse” of the photographer circle in Beijing.
Skilled at social documentary photography, his insightful, creative and artistic work often focused on “social phenomena and people living at the bottom of society”, attracted the attentions of the national photography circle and the media. Many of his award winning works focused on social issues like, “gold rush in the west”, “drug girl”, “small coal pit”, “HIV village”, “the Grand Canal”, “development of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway” and so on.
China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, ahead of the United States of America. In 2008, China contributed 22% of global emissions, followed by the US with 20% of emissions. As China rapidly industrialize, especially in its heavy industries, it created an overwhelming demand on the world’s energy supplies and raised environmental concerns. Hence, China needs to find less resource-intensive paths to growth. Basically, we look at this issue via three different perspectives: from the government, the producers’ and the consumers’ point of view. At the macro level, the government wants to pursue economic goals which are to be traded off environmentally.
China is still at the stage of development where massive investments go to heavy industries. Heavy industries promoted in the first five-year plan still enjoy tremendous privileges. Such industries impact the environment adversely. At the micro level, to maximize profits, firms use coal, which is the cheapest yet dirtiest form of energy supply. Furthermore, with high economic growth, consumers pursue an affluent lifestyle leading to intensive energy usage. This exacerbates climate change problems.