In these times of globalisation and world trade, the challenge of how to protect the environment while ensuring increased economic growth appears to be a problem facing many countries. In this article we offer glimpses of this, first in Ghana through the post ‘Sweet ‘n Sour’, and in China in the post ‘What China can learn from France’.
Rory Williams of the blog Carbon Copy points to one of the negative effects of the deal struck between China and Ghana where China is set to build a 400MW hydroelectric dam and Ghana is to supply China with cocoa – massive deforestation. Rory also includes some poignant facts about the ‘sour’ end of the deal.
…originally forests covered 36 percent of Ghana's territory but by 2000 this had shrunk to just 10 percent. Forest clearing in Ghana is also a result of urban sprawl, export of timber, and use of wood for domestic fuel. Despite planting 10,000 hectares of managed forest a year, logging is taking place at an estimated 5 times the level it should be for sustainability.
The concept of Green GDP, an index of economic growth with the environmental consequences of that growth factored in, is mentioned in the post ‘What China can learn from France’ by Jianqiang Liu of the blog China Dialogue. (For some background on the idea of Green GDP and the need for its adoption in China, read this post by China Dialogue‘s Ma Jun) Jianqiang Liu makes a compelling case for the need for China to draw lessons from France's laws regarding environmental protection, which offer a precedent for dealing with myriad environmental problems.
The significance of the charter is that no other law may contradict it. By contrast, China’s environmental laws are numerous and of little use. There are no consequences for companies or local governments that ignore them, which they continue to do. Enshrining the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development in the Chinese constitution would give them unprecedented legal status as well as symbolic power.
Last but not least, also from China Dialogue is a post on India's third liberation – An economy that benefits the poor and protects the environment. The manner in which this can be achieved is outlined by John Elkington. In addition he wonders whether India can join China in a new ‘axis of sustainability’.