SUPERPOWERS: Resource use (China case study)

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  • Created on: 19-03-13 21:47
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Resource Use
The growth of the BRICs has led to an increase in consumption which has put
pressure on resources this has let to inevitable environmental problems.
As resource consumption grows ­ so does ecological footprints. The earth's
biocapacity is 1.7 hectares but the average ecological footprint in the USA is 9
hectares! The USA needs 2 and a half planets to sustain its massive
consumption and resource use. New middle class consumers in BRIC countries
e.g. China (400 million), are rapidly pushing ecological footprints.
The increased use of resources leads to pollution and environmental
degradation. Kuznet's modified Curve demonstrates a nonlinear relationship
between pollution/environmental degradation and economic development. It
shows that rapidly emerging NIC's still prioritise industrial growth over
environmental implications where as more affluent economies are more
concerned about environmental well being as they have more `green'
technology, finance and education/awareness.
Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental impacts created from rapid
industrial/economic growth.
China's Air Quality
Almost 70% of China's energy comes from coal over 6 billion tonnes of
CO2 is produced each year!
Overtaken the USA with regard to carbon emissions ­ building 2 coal
fired power stations a week to meet demand.
Home to 16 of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world
The World Health Organisation has estimated that 400,000 people in
China die each year due to air pollution.
30% of China suffers from acid rain
Water pollution/scarcity is also an increasing problem ­ various air pollutants
are polluting rivers e.g. the Ganges in India. Some developments e.g. the 3
gorges dam and the southnorth water transfer project are helping to spread
and accumulate pollution. More than 600 million people are suffering from
water stress in China.
Affects on biodiversity
Pollution has caused the extinction of species e.g. dolphins in the
Deforestation is destroying habitats and ecosystems.
There is rapid desertification in Northern China.
HOWEVER, you can argue that BRIC countries are starting to care about the
environment with the development of `green' sustainable economies. China has the

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They also produce a
lot of HEP from the 3 gorges. China has also developed ecocities e.g. Dongtan.…read more


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