Will China make the world green?
Joschka Fischer was never one to mince words when he was Germany’s foreign minister in the late ’90s and early noughts. So it is not overly surprising that he has painted a picture in a new post of a world with only two powers — the United States and China — and an ineffective and divided Europe on the sidelines.
More controversial, however, is his view that China will not only grow into the world’s most important market over the coming years, but will determine what the world produces and consumes — and that that will be green.
Fischer, who was leader of Germany’s Green Party, reckons that due to its sheer size and needed GDP growth, China will have to pursue a green economy. Without that, he writes in his Project Syndicate post, China will quickly reach limits to growth with disastrous ecological and, as a result, political consequences.
This will have serious consequences on the the way the West lives.
Consider the transition from the traditional automobile to electric transport. Despite European illusions to the contrary, this will be decided in China, not in the West. All that will be decided by the West’s globally dominant automobile industry is whether it will adapt and have a chance to survive or go the way of other old Western industries: to the developing world.
This is not the usual view of China. Many greens have long feared the impact of a huge leap in Chinese growth on the global environment — refrigerators in a billion homes, cars in a billion garages etc.
So instead of killing the planet, is China set to save it?