China’s slowdown could bring environmental benefits

Smoke stacks spewing out pollution at a steel mill in Hebei province, China.
Heavily polluting steel mills, like this one in China’s northern Hebei province, will be shuttered as the country adjusts its economy and reduces overcapacity (source: dpa)
  • Slower growth allows Chinese economic planners to reduce heavily polluting industries
  • Chinese people are increasingly concerned with the environment
  • Air pollution and water scarcity are big issues, as is climate change in general
  • Beijing is likely to make a moderate shift toward more environmentally conscious policies
Beijing is eager to use China’s economic slowdown as a means to improve the country’s environment. The slower growth gives the government maneuverability to address some of the country’s most pressing environmental problems. Nevertheless, doubts remain as to whether authorities are truly committed to green issues or are merely saving face. Lacking rapid economic growth to appease the populace, the government must address the other concerns – such as the environment.

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