An analysis of the balance between economic growth, energy consumption and pollution gives a positive outlook for average gross domestic product but presents a bleak view regarding a lack of sustainability and failure to meet environmental targets, the study published in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues reported.
Economist Yanqing Xia of Dongbei University of Finance and Economics examined almost a decade's worth of data from 30 Chinese provinces to model trends in pollution, energy consumption and economic growth.
A rapid increase in energy consumption has come from the development of manufacturing and heavy industries, which in turn cause a rise in pollution and carbon emissions that are adding to environmental harm on a global scale, with significant impacts on ecological systems, the economist said.
"China's economic growth is still powered by physical capital expansion and substantial energy consumption," she said. "Energy consumption and pollution still increase with China's economic growth."
Economic growth and environmental protection must now be bound together, she said.
"Economic growth may continue unhindered for many years in China but the environmental payback may stymie opportunities to reap the rewards of that growth because of the harm that ignoring environmental urgency may cause."