China: How big is the giant really?


Richard Moore

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From: Monika Sheardown •••@••.•••
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2007
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: The China Effect

As you ponder buying more ³Made in China² goods during boxing day sales, here¹s 
some interesting factsŠ

Very best,
The China Effect

³Per-capita income in China is less than 1/10 of America¹s 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, we¹d need several more Earths. 
China¹s effect on world resources, quantified:

China is :

* The world¹s largest consumer of coal, grain, fertilizer, cell phones, 
refrigerators, and televisions

* The leading importer of iron ore, steel, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and 

* The top producer of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds of metal

* 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 world¹s largest car producer. By 2020, there could be 130 
million cars on its roads, compared to 33 million now.

More Facts:

* China produces half of the world¹s cameras, 1/3 of its television sets, and 
1/3 of all the planet¹s garbage.

* There are towns in China that make 60% of the world¹s button supply, 1/2 of 
all silk neckties, and 1/2 of all fireworks.

* China uses half of the world¹s steel and concrete and will probably construct 
half of the world¹s new buildings over the next decade.

* 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 States-combined.

* 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 world¹s top carbon dioxide emitter in 2006, overtaking the 
United States.

* Russia is China¹s 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 China¹s timber-product exports exceeds $17 billion. About 40 
percent go to the United States.

* More than 3/4 of China¹s forests have disappeared; 1/4 of the country¹s 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, China¹s sulfur-dioxide emissions were nearly twice those of the 
United States.

* Acid rain caused by air pollution now affects 1/3 of China¹s land.

* 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 world¹s 20 most polluted cities, 16 are in China.

* Half of China¹s 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 China¹s rivers are too polluted to support fish.

* The Mi Yun reservoir, Beijing¹s 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 

* 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. That¹s 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 California¹s 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.

* China¹s middle class is expected to jump from 100 million people today to 700 
million people by 2020.


These statistics are drawn from ³The Last Empire: Can the world survive China¹s 
rush to emulate the American way of life?² in the current issue of Mother Jones.


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