China's 'green' programs: World models?

July 9, 2008 at 11:21 AM
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EAST LANSING, Mich., July 9 (UPI) -- A U.S. study shows two of the world's largest environmental programs are in China and they might become models for the rest of the world.

Michigan State University Professor Jianguo Liu and colleagues reviewed the two Chinese projects -- the Natural Forest Conservation and the Grain to Green programs. While finding both, with a governmental investment of more than $72 billion, have been "generally successful," the scientists said key reforms could transform them into world models.

The two programs were introduced after major natural disasters -- drought in 1997 and massive floods in 1998.

"China has experienced many environmental crises; the 1998 flash floods alone affected more than 200 million people," Liu said. "This is a new way of thinking for China. They have begun to realize the importance of dealing with environmental issues in relation to social and economic issues, and it is paying off."

Liu said both programs have important global implications because they increase vegetative cover, enhance carbon sequestration and reduce dust by controlling soil erosion.

The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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