Is China Trading Red and Yellow for the Color Green?: A Look at the Blooming Green Technology Industry in China
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The past fifty years of leadership by the Communist Party in China has been characterized by unparalleled economic growth, an uninterrupted rise in standards of living, material wealth and the increase of Chinese influence on the Asian and international community. Unfortunately, China's commitment to maintain high levels of economic growth have come a huge environmental cost. The main consequences of economic growth in terms of the environment are land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, polluted air, depleted fisheries, and limited water resources resulting from water pollution. China is already one of the biggest suppliers of green technology products. The country is the largest producer of the world's solar panels and wind turbines. I argue that it has the potential to become one of the largest markets· for consuming green technology products. In the past there have been road bumps on the way to paving a greener society. A lack of accountability and government support in the implementation of environmental policies has hindered the progress of environmental protection in China. Corruption has also drained many programs of the funds needed to properly implement their policies. The Chinese government has acknowledged the monetary costs of continual environmental destruction and realized that there is huge potential for wealth creation in the green energy sector. Developing the green energy industry has also become a national priority because it contributes to Chinese energy security. China's cheap labor and capital are making clean energy more affordable for the world's consumption. However, there are concerns that technological innovation may be stifled as China takes the forefront on green technology production. These concerns may prove irrelevant due to the growth and expansion of engineering talent being bred in Chinese Universities and the possibility of a reverse "Brain Drain" bringing talent back to China. It is likely that the future will bring China and the United States together to combat the global environmental challenges of climate change, ozone depletion, and biodiversity loss.
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