From ‘Worn’ to ‘Green’ China Model? Energy in the 12th Five-Year Plan in an Environmental and Climate-Change Perspective
Since the reforms started in 1978, the Chinese development model has been exceptionally successful in delivering growth, but it has also depleted China’s resources dramatically and has been based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels. On a range of critical environmental parameters, China is now the world’s ‘biggest’ or ’worst’ and it contributes considerably to the decline in the health of the globe as well as of China and its people (Liu and Diamond, 2005). Effectively, the growth-oriented model, dubbed the ‘China model’,1 which has been pursued during the first three decades of reform, has become environmentally untenable. While the model has been hyped as a unique and successful approach to development,2 it has gradually been realized that it needs to be more sustainable (Pan, 2011). Following years of criticisms of China’s environmental destruction from within and outside the country,3 new development concepts such as: ‘science-based development’, ‘sustainable development’, ‘green transformation’, ‘low-carbon development’, ‘circular economy’, and ‘green development’ are now being propagated by the Chinese leadership to move China away from the seriously ‘worn’ China model towards a more sustainable ‘green’ China model.
KeywordsInternational Energy Agency Chinese Leadership Environmental Performance Index World Energy Outlook Worldwatch Institute
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