Not being an expert on China or its history, ancient or modern, the following observations are just that. Comments on what I have read and heard over the years.
It is hard to know whether China is now a dictatorship or an autocracy.
What is absolutely beyond doubt is that it is not a democracy, while it does not appear to be even a benign dictatorship – if there is such an animal!
The actions of Chinese leaders in recent years give rise to the suspicion that its leadership might be working towards challenging the USA for world dominance.
Having said all that, its status as a developing nation has allowed it latitude to continue to develop power stations driven by fossil fuels, so ensuring it is emitting increasing amounts of greenhouse gases.
Consequently, to those who claim we are wasting our time trying to reduce our emissions before China does, the simple answer is, that if we – and as many other countries as possible – do not substantially reduce our emissions to compensate, then we are well and truly up the proverbial creek.
And fossil fuel emissions are far from being our only problems, after decades of profligate living, leaving a damaging trail of pollution to litter land and the oceans with harmful plastics and toxic materials.
An independent observer might comment that mankind does not deserve to remain on earth, being its worst predators and most destructive inhabitants.
But what of our children? Do they not deserve consideration? They did not choose to be born!
One viable path to improve the situation would be for Australia, along with the multitude of nations which are already blazing the trail to increase use of renewable energy and reduce all other forms of pollution, to establish restrictions and standards which must be adhered to – just as was done during WWII, when all policies were directed to the war effort.
Trees are the world’s second carbon sink, the first being the oceans. We should ensure that we plant and cherish our trees, using those species least susceptible to fire and most effectively planted to reduce risk to habitations.
We need to re-think packaging, much of which is not only wasteful but unnecessary.
We need to establish effective recycling procedures which minimise energy use.
We need to maximise development of renewable energy resources – including currently overlooked ones like wave and water power, additional to hydroelectric processes.
We need to develop ways of recycling fabrics as well as plastics into usable products.
There are many scientists and other specialists, plus university students, who would be able to suggest and probably develop other ideas.
And we must stop exporting fossil fuels from Australia, instead exporting those materials which have resulted from recycling, including steel.
This needs to be a concerted effort from suitably linked consortia of countries – just as we worked with allies in WWII!
Much of this program will involve construction of relevant facilities and training workers for various associated occupations. There should be plenty of opportunity to find work for the relatively small number of people currently employed at the literal coalface.
Motivation, aspiration, innovation and determination are the key elements of the necessary program and remember – time is of the essence! The ice caps are fast disappearing.
China will be a dead weight in the beginning, but as we progress, it will become evident to its politburo that cooperation beats isolation, while the other countries, currently hanging back, will also see the benefits of belonging to those manufacturing change.
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