This article highlights the Chinese Government’s push for growth in the energy sector while overlooking environmental impacts of that growth. China wants to increase clean energy to 15% of total energy from 9% currently. China hopes to increase dam, nuclear, and other forms of clean energy to reach this goal.
China’s water quality has deteriorated through the construction of dams and lack of concern with environmental impacts. Dams in China are built on local and national levels depending on the scale of the project. Dam builders and local governments retain large amounts of autonomy in China through administration policies. Local governments see dams as a great way to increase economic activity in regions which have rivers and poor farmland. However, due to this autonomy areas which have fertile soil, endangered species, and poor ability to be used for energy creation through dams have been given the go ahead on such projects. These local governments often disregard national policy put forth by Environmental Officials. The Water Ministry is well aware of the environmental impact dams have on ecosystems, but in a country that is constantly focused on expanding the economy, it has been given very little ability to approve projects.
The environment impacts citizens’ quality of life. Pollution, reduced species diversity, degraded environments for vacationing, and health quality all need to be taken into account with the building of dams. In the Li book, water quality due to industrialization resulted in the villagers no longer using dredged soil from the local river as a method of fertilizing their farm out of fear of what was in the river.
One Response to Dam-Building in China
The previous Chinese premier was a civil engineer whose early career was building dams. Not a lot of room to question at the highest level!
However, dams don’t automatically produce reliable electricity, particularly on rivers with lots of silt. The Three Gorges dam may not produce power for long, and there are the environmental issues you note, plus a history of dam disasters. The political economy of dams includes lots of job creation and lots of government contracts…