The choices China and India make in the next few years will lead the world either down a development path based on efficient technologies and better stewardship of resources or towards a future beset by growing ecological instability, said the US-based Worldwatch Institute in its State of the World 2006 report.
The Chinese version of "State of the World 2006: China and India Hold World in Balance" was published recently.
Last year, China used 26 per cent of the world's steel, 32 per cent of rice and 47 per cent of cement. Though its per-capita resource consumption is still low, the nation is joining the United States and Europe as ecological giants whose requirement on the world's ecosystems will outstrip those of other countries, according to the report.
But there were some optimistic signs. "We were encouraged to find that a growing number of opinion leaders in China are now recognizing that the resource-intensive model for economic growth cannot work in the 21st century," said Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin.
Already, China's world-leading solar industry provides water heating for 35 million buildings. The country, together with India, is expected to be the global leader in sustainable energy and agriculture within a decade, he said.
The report calls for broader co-operation among China, India, Europe and the United States to develop new energy and agricultural systems, maximize resource efficiency and continue recent progress towards participatory decision-making in China and India.
Source: China Daily