A leading US environmentalist yesterday advised China to explore renewable energy sources.
Lester Brown, 72, president of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC, said: "What China clearly demonstrates to the world now is that the Western economic mode, the fossil fuel-based, automobile-centered, throw-away economy, is not going to work with China."
Speaking at the Beijing launch of the Chinese version of his 2003 book "Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble" at the National Library of China, Brown added: "China has to replace it with a renewable-energy based system, and comprehensive recycling economy."
In the book Brown discusses a series of problems China along with the rest of the world is facing, such as emerging water shortages and the specter of global grain shortages.
Brown said that if China keeps an 8 percent annual rate of growth by 2031 the average annual income will be the same as in the US.
By then, the nation's vast population will consume two thirds of the world's resources, he said.
Brown suggested China should help restructure the global economy, eradicate poverty, stabilize population growth and restore the earth's natural systems.
"The key to restructuring the global economy is to let the market tell the environmental truth," he said.
The US environment expert suggested adjusting the tax system to add environmental cost to products.
"To do that, you have to calculate the environmental cost of each product and put tax on that product," he said.
He also stressed the importance of developing renewable energies, such as wind power.
"China lags far behind Europe and the United States in developing wind power, despite the fact that China is a wind-rich country," he said.
Brown also expressed his concern at the nation's booming automobile industry.
While people in Europe and the US have begun to use bicycles and other means of transport, interestingly, China is doing the opposite, he said.
Brown has been heralded as "one of the world's most influential thinkers" by the Washington Post.
He first came to Chinese readers attention with his 1995 book "Who Will Feed China?"
(China Daily May 29, 2006)