CHINA’S GREEN INITIATIVES
by Nicholas Cheng
Reassigning 60,000 soldiers to combat pollution by increasing the country’s forest coverage
Portions from the nation’s armed police force and a large regiment from the People’s Liberation Army, one of the largest military forces in the world, have been dispatched to the Hebei province in China to work on non-military tasks inland. The idea is popular among members of online military forums as long as their ranks and entitlements are unaffected. The goal by the end of the year is to plant at least 84,000 square kilometres of trees, roughly the size of Ireland.
Head of China’s State Forestry Administration, Zhang Jianlong, stated that by 2035, the country’s forest coverage could reach as high as 26%. Second in the world on military spending, it is quite refreshing to hear a delegation of martial resources going towards something that benefits everyone.
China Is Pumping Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Into New Renewable Energy Projects by 2020
Despite being the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, China is pumping billions of dollars’ worth of investments into clean energy over the next few years. $361 billion worth of new projects are being formed for solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear power and will form half of all new electricity generation by 2020, the energy equivalent of 580 million metric tons of coal. Another public benefit of this includes creating 13 million jobs. Meanwhile in the US, President Trump continues to hire climate change deniers as ministers and accusing the Chinese of creating climate change as a ‘hoax’ despite China being the world’s leader in solar power. Things are clearly different in China, where pollution and smog are visible in the skies. A time lapse of smog rolling into Beijing can be seen HERE. If the US continues to fall behind in this trend and deny support for UN climate programs and the Paris climate agreement, they will lose the support of their people, indirectly affecting the country’s economic and social progress.
China’s plan to cut meat consumption by 50% cheered by climate campaigners
In a series of recent public information adverts by the Chinese Communist party, allied by Hollywood celebrities Arnold Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron, China has been encouraged to consume less animal flesh to help the environment. The Chinese government has outlined a plan that will push for its citizens to consume 50% less meat, around 40–75 grams per person each day. What is surprising however, is that 14.5% of the planet-warming emissions emanate from the livestock industry which includes consumption and raising of chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals. This amount is larger than all transport combined. The reason for this is that livestock emit methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, while land clearing and fertilizers release large quantities of carbon.
The reason why this is such a significant move for the world is that the emergence of China as an economic power has radically altered the diets of a newly wealthy population. In 1982, the average Chinese person would consume just 13kg of meat per year, and this was due to the scarcity of meats, with beef being nicknamed “millionaire’s meat”. The average person in the country now consumes 63kg of meat per year which equals to 28% of the world’s meat. However, China still lags behind more than a dozen other countries in per capita meat consumption, with the average American or Australian consuming twice as much meat per person in China. Nonetheless, this is still a significant step towards moving forward for a sustainable future. If the campaign is successful, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 1 billion tonnes by the year 2030 from a projected 1.8 billion per in that year and will make a significant improvement towards public health.
Milman, Oliver, and Stuart Leavenworth. “China’s Plan to Cut Meat. Consumption by 50% Cheered by Climate Campaigners.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 20 June 2016, www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/20/chinas-meat-consumption-climate-change.
Osborne, Samuel. “China Deploys 60,000 Soldiers to Plant Trees in Bid to Grow 6 Million Hectares of New Forest This Year.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 13 Feb. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-tree-plant-soldiers-reassign-climate-change-global-warming-deforestation-a8208836.html?utm_source=reddit.com.
West, James. “China Is Pumping Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Into New Renewable Energy Projects by 2020.” Mother Jones, 5 Jan. 2017, www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/01/china-pumping-hundreds-billions-dollars-new-renewable-energy-projects-2020/.