China

global ecological nightmare if China adopted the American Dream

The earth will experience a veritable ecological nightmare by 2031 if all Chinese come to adopt the current American lifestyle of high consumption, warned on Wednesday the American research institute Earth Policy Institute.

The American Dream, Chinese version, will inevitably lead to environmental and economic global catastrophe as extrapolations of this institute in food consumption, energy and raw materials.

If the Chinese economy experienced growth of 8% per year, doubling every nine years, per capita income in 2031 will reach 38.000 dollars, the current per capita income of the United States, but for a population then estimated at 1,45 , XNUMX billion, says this study.

Currently the average annual income of a Chinese per capita is barely 5.300 dollars.

The most alarming projections concern energy consumption and its consequences.

"Besides the unbreathable air due to the fumes from the consumption of coal, the CO2 emissions of China in 26 years would be equivalent to those emitted by the sources of pollution on all the earth today" according to this study.

Read also: Urban pollution and air pollutants

Indeed, if the Chinese use proportionally as much oil in 2031 as the Americans today, China will have to dispose of 99 million barrels of crude per day. Current daily world production is around 79 million barrels.

For coal, if in 26 years each Chinese burns as much coal as an American (or 2 tonnes per year on average), the country will use 2,8 million tonnes each year, more than the current annual world production of 2,5 million tonnes.

"Climate change would no longer be manageable, endangering food security and flooding all coastal cities," warns the institute.

At the rate of three cars for four inhabitants at the moment in the United States, this dream of having a private vehicle would lead the Chinese car fleet to more than 1,1 billion units in 2031.

"The roads, highways and parking lots to absorb all these cars will represent the equivalent of the area devoted today to growing rice in China," says the institute.

And if all the Chinese start consuming "as voraciously" in 2031 as the Americans today, the only consumption of cereals per person will drop from 291 kg to 935 kg per year.

Read also: The privatization of water

This will account for the whole of China the equivalent of two thirds of the total world harvest of 2004, which had reached a little more than 2 billion tons, according to the study.

To meet such demand, an additional 2031 billion tonnes of grain would have to be produced by XNUMX, which could lead to the disappearance of large parts of the Amazon rainforest transformed into wheat fields with enormous ecological consequences.

In 26 years, if the Chinese consume as much meat as the Americans today - 125 kg per person in 2004 - production in China should drop to 181 million tonnes compared to 64 million tonnes today. This would represent four-fifths of current world meat production.

The aim of the exercise is "not to throw a stone at China for unrestrained consumption" but rather to warn against the temptations to want to live according to the Western model of "consumer society", while the planetary resources are limited, the study concludes.

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