China’s predatory outlook towards Global Environment
A recent report has concluded that China has emitted more carbon dioxide in the past eight years that U.K had emitted since the industrial revolution. China has been the largest emitter of annual greenhouse gases since 2006 and its total energy related emissions are twice as that of the second largest emitter; making it the source of one third of emissions pumped into the environment every year across the world. The county’s energy related emissions have manifold to more than 80% from 2005 to 2019 as well.
These reports come at a time when global leaders were in Egypt attending United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). A prime agenda of the summit was to have nations agree to reduce global carbon emissions are at an all-time-high although the leader have foundlittle respite in sight.
China in specific, is alone responsible each year for 30% of all global emissions, while also ever increasing its emissions. This non-compliance also come at the backdrop of China in all probability backing away from paying a ‘climate change reparation’ to vulnerable countries severely affected by its environmental degradational activities.
However, it is not only emission concerns that needs attention in China’s unregulated development trajectories. China is also the largest source of marine debris as well as the worst culprits of illegal fishing and the largest importer of unregulated wildlife and timber. For instance, in the African nation of Mozambique, Chinese firms have been purchasing banned indigenous timber; though only after Chinese entities had managed to bribe public officials in the country for sourcing of the ecological destructive product
Beijing’s quest to attain a hegemony has promoted unsafe industrial practices and have proved to be detrimental to the global environment as well. Its ecologically threatening industrial processes has made it the world’s largest emitter of mercury and neurotoxin. This has made China the leader in creating a conducive scenario for mercury related toxic air pollutants, risking the threat of a severe air pollution crisis. Not only this, the Chinese Communist Party’s developmental goals have led it accelerate Chinese owned subsidiary’s plans in coal burning as well. These developmental expeditions have also made the country the biggest producer and exporter of plastic products also causing one third of the globe’s plastic waste alone.According to a report, China’s plastic waste is also unmanaged.The reports stated that these plastic wastes are also directly dumped into the environment without any non-polluting mechanisms in place, leading to millions of tonnes directly affecting marine life as well as causing a severe threat to island nations that face majority of the environmental burden.
China’s unsustainable ecological model is not only dangerous for its domestic residents, but is even more so lethal for vulnerable countries that face an existential threat due to climate change concerns. Its Belt and Road Initiative is arguably the largest economic project ever undertaken, and more so can also be considered as an instigator of such disastrous ecologically degrading mechanisms. The implementation of the projects under the ambit of the initiative lacks a clear environmental policy that safeguards concerns relating to the ecology. However, the it is the host country that often finds itself as a victim to environmental degradations due to lack of safeguards in the projects. Many local populations have been displaced to such projects forcing them to migrate into camps that lack basic facilities required even if meant for a temporary time period. The short-sighted deals are causing local residents to resent Chinese investments that have caused such miserable circumstances for locals residing in such areas for decades.
These projects have also gone on to pollute water sources significantly like in the case of Gambia. The major reason for the growing tensions within different Gambian communities against Chinese firms has been due to widespread contamination of the waters in the Gunjur beach. This has caused serious repercussions for local as well as the nation government. The BRI mega-projects run through at least 1,700 sensitive biodiversity sites and has threatened around 265 species in its process of building infrastructural projects. A study published in Nature Sustainability suggested BRI projects may lead to “permanent environmental degradation” due to ecological degradations caused by pollution, habitat loss, and wildlife deaths, amongst other factors.
These factors combined altogether indicate towards China’s lack of initiative as well as interest in reducing its emissions and pollution that indeed has detrimental effects on vulnerable countries across the world but more specifically towards island countries. If China’s degrading actions are to continue, it would not be far-fetched to state that the global ambition of mitigating against climate change would unfortunately fail in its goal. The Belt and Road initiative in specific, must be dealt with in more firmness by host countries, seeking more responsible behaviour by Chinese firms as well as guarantees that the consequences of the infrastructural projects would be reprimanded by China. China’s global ambitions are not in sync with the global agenda of mitigating environmental concerns; the fact that it has emitted the most amount of greenhouse gases annually in the past fifteen years is indicative of alarming Chinese intensions. These can only be delt if nations act collectively to counter Chinese developmental strategies. Hence like-minded countries concerned about environmental degradation through international forums must seek to call out China’s detrimental plans that is endangering the existence of not only various other species, but also the existence of human life as well going forward.
Courtesy Bye: IFFRAS