Almost A Quarter Of China Will Be Covered By Forests By 2020
Forests will be our primary weapon of dealing with climate change. It’s possible that you’ve already seen that video showing how the Earth is actually breathing. We can also see this trend in this graph below where we see atmospheric CO2 levels every year. As most of us know, plants require CO2 from the air to grow, and forests are the best at it.
We can clearly see here that every year there’s a swift rise followed by an equally swift decline of CO2. What this translates to are the seasons – and namely that when CO2 is rising, it’s winter and then, when it’s dropping, it’s summer. But the overall trend is going up regardless. Anyway, it’s the plants that are responsible for that drop year after year.
Now, when it comes to China, the country has seen a great increase in its economic power and stability over the past several decades. But this increase has come at a cost, namely in terms of ecology and human health. More recently, however, the country has changed its perspective and ways of doing things. As of late, China is the leading producer of solar panels, as well as the no.1 generator of green energies – not in terms of percentages, but as overall production.
In 2007, now-president Xi Jinping began advocating a green economy and “ecological civilization.” Five years later, this idea was turned into a national strategy.
Zhu Guangyao, executive vice president of the Chinese Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association, explains that ecological civilization “is a new concept in the development of human civilization. It refers to material, spiritual and organizational achievements in following objective laws of harmonious human, social and natural development.”
So, in that sense, China expects to be covered by forests in a total surface area of 23% of the overall country by 2020. It’s easier said than done, of course. And as some have pointed out, Chinese officials are better at coming up with slogans than actually acting on them.
Nevertheless, China has taken some important strides in terms of efficiency and a greener economy. Besides growing new forests, roughly 38 percent of the urban area is covered in energy-saving buildings, while their number of new-emergy vehicles has increased 45-fold between 2011 and 2015.
They are also looking to increase their prairie vegetation by 56 percent – reclaiming more than half of the reclaimable desert and preserving at least 35 percent of their natural shorelines. They are also looking at cutting on water consumption by 23 percent and energy consumption by 15 percent. Carbon emissions will also drop by 18% by 2030.
“If China succeeds in achieving these targets,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, “then it will have taken a major step towards shifting to a greener economy that uses resources more efficiently, limits the risks of climate change and improves the health of its people.”