The booming city of Shanghai could become a model for economic
growth by 2010, provided it keeps the quality of its environment in
But nationwide, it will take much longer to maintain
double-digit economic growth without sacrificing the environment,
Niu Wenyuan, chief scientist of sustainable development research at
the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said.
"Wealth accumulation in China is supported by vast energy and
natural resource consumption (but there is) great pressure on the
environment," Niu said in an address to the Third Leadership
Program on Environment for Sustainable Development, with HSBC as
one of its sponsors.
Niu predicted that China's environmental problems would worsen
in the short term but could taper off once the GDP per capita found
"The environment stopped deteriorating in the United States when
its GDP per capita reached US$11,000, and for Japan the figure was
US$8,000," Niu said, citing statistics provided by the World
"So it's impossible to put a break on China's environmental
degradation when it has an average of US$2,000 GDP per capita."
Also, the scientist was optimistic that Shanghai - the nation's
economic engine with a GDP per capita exceeding US$7,000 last year
- and a few other first-tier cities would become the forerunners to
have green GDP growth.
"It's highly likely that Shanghai's environment will improve
with a strong GDP growth in 2010," Niu said.
"But a precondition is that environment quality in its
surrounding areas must improve and the city is not affected by
pollutants produced by the cities in the upper reaches of the
(China Daily April 23, 2007)