global ecological nightmare if China adopted the American Dream
The earth will experience a real ecological nightmare by 2031 if all Chinese adopt the current American lifestyle of heavy consumption, warned 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 grew at 8% per year, doubling every nine years, per capita income in 2031 will reach $ 38.000, or 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 barely reaches 5.300 dollars.
The most alarming projections concern energy consumption and its consequences.
“Apart from the unbreathable air due to the fumes from the consumption of coal, China's CO2 emissions in 26 years would be equivalent to those emitted by pollution sources all over the earth today” according to this study.
Indeed, if the Chinese use proportionally as much oil in 2031 as the Americans today, China will need to have 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 tons per year on average), the country will use 2,8 million tons each year, or 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 towns,” warns the institute.
At the rate of three cars for four inhabitants at the moment in the United States, this dream of owning a private vehicle would drive 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 rice cultivation in China," says the institute.
And if all Chinese begin to consume "as voraciously" in 2031 as Americans today, the consumption of cereals per person alone will drop from 291 kg to 935 kg per year.
This will represent for all of China the equivalent of two-thirds of the entire 2004 world harvest, which reached just over 2 billion tonnes, according to the study.
To meet such a demand, it would be necessary to produce around a billion tonnes of additional grain by 2031, which could lead to the disappearance of large parts of the Amazon rainforest turned 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 increase to 181 million tonnes from 64 million tonnes today. This would represent four fifths of current world meat production.
The purpose of the exercise is "not to throw stones at China for unbridled consumption" but rather to warn of the temptations to want to live according to the Western model of the "consumer society", while the planetary resources are limited, the study concludes.