China is living further and further beyond its environmental means and the implications are global. That is the stark warning from the Worldwide Fund for Nature.
Rapid industrialisation, urban development and intensive farming have set alarm bells ringing.
Explaining the conservation group’s conclusions, Li Ling of the WWF in China explained that if the whole world consumed the same amount of resources as China did in 2007, it would require the equivalent of 1.2 planets. That is up from 0.8 in 2003.
“This shows that the rate of growth is extremely fast and that if development goes on like this, it is not sustainable,” she said.
The WWF says China’s ecological footprint is about 20 per cent higher than the planet can sustain.
With its breakneck economic growth a key issue in global climate change talks, Chinese officials accuse Western critics of hypocrisy. They say China’s people have a right to prosperity.