Ecological Footprint measures
the amount of biologically productive land and water a country uses to produce
the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates with today’s
technology and resource management practices.
What is china’s ecological footprint?
On a per
capita basis, China’s Ecological
Footprint ranked 81st in the world, at 2.5 gha. This is
less than the world average per capita Ecological Footprint of 2.7 gha but still larger than the
world average biocapacity available per person, 1.7 gha. (Gha is global hectors
A 2001 study research by Chinese scholars concluded the
following regarding china ecological footprint.
1980 to 2000, the number of Chinese provinces that had ecological deficits grew
from 19 to 26 indicating a much greater possibility of damage to China’s
ecosystems mainly caused by increase in consumption of fossil fuels (coal at a
Ecological Footprint of tourism is often divided into six sub-Footprints,
including tourist transportation, lodging, catering, shopping, entertainment
and sightseeing, which are then summed to obtain the total Ecological Footprint
Research shows that the average Ecological
Footprint per tourist visit in Huangshan is 0.11 gha within average 3.13 days
per visit, which would be equivalent to 12.4 gha for a year-round resident and
equates to a Footprint of nine times what is typical for local residents.
Footprint research on transportation has found that the total Ecological
Footprint of driving private cars in Beijing is over 5 times greater than that
of using existing public transportation.
to Jing Ma 5 Ecological Footprint Concept in China Report on Ecological
Footprint in China 11 (2005), 60 percent of the water resources consumed by
China’s national economy is green water (soil moisture).
True cost of fossil fuels
recent years have increased the consumption of fossil fuels especially coal. A
study in 2007 concluded that china is using the fossil resources saved over a
million years which are not going to last forever. The usage is in such a way
that china is preserving their own domestic ecosystem capacity while
externalizing the mass effect on the outside world.
In 2003, UN Statistics report that
China’s imports embodied a total of 480 million global hectares, while exports
totaled 350 million global hectares. Hence the net import amounted to 130
million global hectares, nearly equal to the entire biocapacity of Germany.
china imported around 161 million global hectares of biocapacity mainly
including land and forest amenities due to scarcity of Chinese amenities and
increase in the industrial footprint causing ecological degradation higher to
the globe but lower to china.
Paths for the
If global society continues on its
current trajectory, even optimistic United Nations projections with moderate
increases in population, food and fiber consumption and carbon emissions
suggest that, by 2050, humanity will demand resources and ecological services
at double the rate at which the Earth can regenerate them. Each year, we would
demand the equivalent of two planets.
A ‘CIRCLE (Individual Reduce Carbon Land Efficiency)’ approach to sustainability
Compact – It is estimated that by 2020,
the total Chinese population will reach 1.45 billion with 55% of the population
living in urban centers. This implies an increase in urban population by 220
million in the next 12 years. Only way will be either by building compact city or eco-functional city.
This includes a strategy to promote
responsible and efficient consumption of resources
the utilization efficiency of water resources.
can adopt energy efficient technologies, such as compact fluorescent light
can try to select the most environmentally friendly transportation means to
lower their demand on the environment.
– a strategy to reduce the china hidden consumption impacts.
materials, China consumes over 4.5 million cubic meters of timber and 1.4
billion tones of water resources for wood and paper packaging each year, and
consumes almost 2 million tons of metallic resources such as iron, aluminum,
tin for metal packaging. Plastic packaging consumes 1.5 percent of all crude
oil resources used in China.
The total losses incurred
during crop harvesting, storage, transportation, processing, distribution and
consumption amount to nearly 20 percent.
the total volume of resources, non-renewable and renewable, extracted by
improving extraction efficiency. The separation of waste should happen close to
the extraction site to reduce the needless consumption of energy during
available raw materials more efficiently during resource processing and
Lowering the Footprint of
China’s energy use will be critical for achieving sustainable development.
Specific measures are:
Improve energy efficiency in
each stage of the energy life cycle, in both production and consumption.
Adopt biomass energy technology to substitute
fossil fuel energy in those cases where biomass has a lower Ecological
Footprint than fossil fuels.
Adopt carbon capture and
storage technology for existing and planned fossil fuel electricity plants.
With limited capacity to
expand its available productive land area, one fundamental way for China to
balance its ecological deficit is to improve yields on existing productive land
while ensuring that this productive land base does not shrink.
Adopting a circular economic
model in which the “wastes” from our economy are recycled and reused will lead
to less materials being extracted from nature and less wastes discharged.