When watching the video "China Revs Up" I couldn't help but notice many similarities between China and the U.S. when our economy was booming. Due to the massive economic growth that China is experiencing, they are going into territories they have never dealt with before. Millions of people are prospering in China's growing economony and are looking for ways to better their lives with the new income they have acquired. However China is still a technologically and industrially developing country and because of this, they are experiencing a number of growing pains.
This is most evident in the dramatic increase in air polution that is in China. In the past ten years, people have gone from riding bicycles as the daily form of transportation, to using cars. However, much like the US when we experienced our automobile boom, China is still unfamiliar with the problems that cars bring. Namely air pollution. China still underestimates the damage air pollution is having on their country. Health problems are becoming more prominant in the country and its costing them 6% of the GDP in paying for the hospital treatments of those suffering from pollution related illnesses. I believe that this is occurring because they don't see environmental improvement as an economically profitable endeavor. This is why their car emissions standards are so outdated compared to most of the western world. The unfortunate thing about China having this problem (of understimating pollution's effect) is that because they are the largest country in the world, their negligence can negatively affect that rest of the world. Therefore, it is imperative that they make improvements to their industrial infrastructure before it is too late. Their emmissions standards need to be raised, they need to find viable alternative energy sources instead of coal, and they need to better manage their resources. In my opinion, it took the US too long to realize the damage we were doing to the environment, because of this it is extremely important that China very quickly improves so that they don't push the world off the brink.
The world is already under serious distress due to the various strains we have put on the environment. China's rising in global influence is creating a major socioeconomic shift in the world. However, its environmental influence is proving to be even more powerful. We must decide what our role (as the US) should be in this. Should we come in to improve on China's industry or should we leave them to progress naturally as we did? As a country, we are much more responsible and environmentally conscious then we used to be. The question is can we afford to let China learn as slowly as we did?