The Economy And The Environment

The Economy and the environment seem to be two isolated issues. The former refers to the “state of a country or region in terms of production and consumption of goods and services” while the latter refers to the “surrounding we live in”. However, environmental issues have economic implications and affect the sustainability of economic growth. Sign up for economics tuition provided by a quality economics tutor to find out more about the economic implications of various environmental problems. A good economics tutor should be able to share with students in economics tuition real life examples to help them gain a better understanding of the various economics concepts.

Take China for example. The rapid growth of the Chinese economy in the past few decades was at the price of damages to its environment, many irreversible. The damages come in various ways.

Air, Water and Soil Pollution

Air pollution in China is a critical issue which has raised international concern. It is an alarming fact that only 25 per cent cities of prefecture or higher levels in China have attained the national standard of air quality, based on data collected in 2016. Air pollution poses serious threat to our health. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution in 2010. In addition, evidence showed that air pollution would increase the risk of bladder cancer.

Rapid economic growth, coupled with rising population and environmental oversight have contributed to water pollution in China for the past decades. A study in China in the 1980s showed that 80 per cent of water in main rivers in China were polluted to some extent. This includes 20 waterways unsuitable for agricultural irrigation. This, in turn, leads to soil pollution and food contamination. About 100,000 km2, 10 percent of China’s cultivated land, has been polluted, due to contaminated water being used for irrigation. As a result, 6 million tons of grains are contaminated every year.

High Consumption of Unrenewable Energy

China has been the world’s largest energy consumer since 2011, overtaking the US. Its energy consumption almost doubled from 2000 to 2015, accounting for about 20 per cent of the total global energy consumption. China’s high energy demand has been met primarily by unrenewable, fossil-based energy sources, such as coal, mainly due to its low-cost relative to energy generated. Although China has the world’s third largest coal reserve, next to the US and Russia, the coal reserve will be depleted in the near future if the coal consumption is maintained at this level. As you may have learned from your economics tutor in economics tuition, sustainability is one of the key economic goals set by governments around the world. In consultation with your economics tutor, explain the different measures taken by the world’s political leaders to address the environmental issues and its economic implications.

On the one hand, the phenomenal economic growth in China has caused various adverse effects on the environment. On the other hand, the economic growth cannot be sustained if the environmental problem is unresolved.

Measures to Tackle Environmental Problems in China

In 2016, the National Energy Administration in China released its 13th 5-year plan on energy sector. It is part of the Chinese government’s plan to reduce the country’s dependence on coal and substitute them with renewable, non-fossil-based energy sources such as wind and solar. The goal is to increase the share of the latter to 15 per cent of overall energy consumption by 2020.

To reduce air pollution, the Chinese government has introduced measures to limit car emissions. Some factories have been shut down for causing air, water and soil pollution. Discuss in economics tuition with your economics tutor, the cost and benefit of these measures. With guidance from your economics tutor, quantify the various benefits resulting from improved environment. The benefits are to be compared with the costs to draw a conclusion.

Linda Geng

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