- "Per-capita income in China is less than 1/10 of
America's and its per-capita greenhouse gas emission is less than 1/5
of ours. But if 1.3 billion Chinese were to consume at the level Americans
do, we'd need several more Earths. China's effect on world resources,
- China Is
- * The world's largest consumer of coal, grain, fertilizer,
cell phones, refrigerators, and televisions
- * The leading importer of iron ore, steel, copper, tin,
zinc, aluminum, and nickel
- * The top producer of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds
- * The No. 1 importer of illegally logged wood
- * The third-largest producer of cars after Japan and
the United States; by 2015, it could be the world's largest car producer.
By 2020, there could be 130 million cars on its roads, compared to 33
- More Facts
- * China produces half of the world's cameras, 1/3 of
its television sets, and 1/3 of all the planet's garbage.
- * There are towns in China that make 60% of the world's
button supply, 1/2 of all silk neckties, and 1/2 of all fireworks.
- * China uses half of the world's steel and concrete and
will probably construct half of the world's new buildings over the next
- * Some Chinese factories can fit as many as 200,000 workers.
- * China used 2.5 billion tons of coal in 2006, more than
the next three highest-consuming nations-Russia, India, and the United
- * It has more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants and
puts a new one into operation every 4 to 7 days.
- * Between 2003 and 2006, worldwide coal consumption increased
as much as it did in the 23 years before that. China was responsible
for 90% of the
- * China became the world's top carbon dioxide emitter
in 2006, overtaking the United States.
- * Russia is China's largest timber supplier; half of
all logging there is illegal. In Indonesia, another timber supplier to
China, up to 80% of all logging takes place illegally.
- * 90% of all wood products made in China are consumed
in the country, including 45 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks each year.
- * The value of China's timber-product exports exceeds
$17 billion. About 40 percent go to the United States.
- * More than 3/4 of China's forests have disappeared;
1/4 of the country's land mass is now desert.
- * Until recently, China was losing a Rhode Island-sized
parcel of land to desertification each year.
- * 80% of the Himalayan glaciers that feed Chinese rivers
could melt by 2035.
- * In 2005, China's sulfur-dioxide emissions were nearly
twice those of the United States.
- * Acid rain caused by air pollution now affects 1/3 of
- * Each year, at least 400,000 Chinese die prematurely
of air- pollution- linked respiratory illnesses or diseases.
- * A quarter of a million people die because of motor-vehicle
traffic each year - 6 times as many as in the United States, even though
Americans have 18
- times as many cars.
- * Of the world's 20 most polluted cities, 16 are in China.
- * Half of China's population-600 to 700 million people-drinks
water contaminated with human and animal waste. A billion tons of untreated
sewage is dumped into the Yangtze each year.
- * 4/5 of China's rivers are too polluted to support fish.
- * The Mi Yun reservoir, Beijing's last remaining reliable
source of drinking water, has dropped more than 50 feet since 1993.
- * Overuse of groundwater has caused land subsidence that
cost Shanghai alone $12.9 billion in economic losses.
- * Dust storms used to occur once a year. Now, they happen
at least 20 times a year.
- * Chinese dust storms can cause haziness and boost particulate
matter in the United States, all the way over to Maine.
- * In 2001, a huge Chinese storm dumped 50,000 metric
tons of dust on the United States. That's 2.5 times as much as what U.S.
sources produce in a typical day.
- * Currently, up to 36 percent of man-made mercury emissions
settling on America originated in Asia.
- * Particulate matter from Asia accounts for nearly half
of California's annual pollution limit.
- * Environmental damage reportedly costs China 10 percent
of its GDP. Pollution-related death and disability heath care costs alone
are estimated at up to 4 percent of GDP.
- * In 2005, there were 50,000 pollution-related disputes
and protests in China.
- * China's middle class is expected to jump from 100 million
people today to 700 million people by 2020.
- These statistics are drawn from "The Last Empire:
Can the world survive China's rush to emulate the American way of life?"
in a recent issue of Mother Jones.