The country's environmental challenges have worldwide implications, so more developed nations, such as the United States, need to help China adopt integrated solutions for the sake of global sustainability, a Michigan State University environmental scientist argues.
"What happens in China affects the rest of the world," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, University Distinguished Professor of fisheries and wildlife. Liu is known around the world for his work on environmental sustainability and coupled human and natural systems and is the lead investigator of the International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems, funded by the National Science Foundation.
"China is growing very quickly and as its economy has grown, so have its environmental challenges. The first thing everyone needs to do is recognize the relationship between humans and the environment. Environmental problems are an indicator of human problems. By protecting the environment, people protect their health and their livelihoods," he said.
"Every country needs to recognize the important link between human and natural systems," said Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and noted China scholar. "We focus on China because the country is developing so fast. In 2002, the Chinese government compared the growth in gross domestic product to environmental destruction and both were about 10 percent. Those numbers aren't compared any more because it makes the economic statistics look bleak. China’s biodiversity, one of the richest sets of organisms in the world, is seriously threatened by extinction in the decades to come, but if preserved, offers great opportunities to us all for the future."
Liu and Raven's paper, "China's Environmental Challenges and Implications for the World," is published in the September issue of Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology.
The paper examines long-term and recent socioeconomic and environmental trends in China and outlines a systems approach to tackling China's environmental issues. Those include using economic stimulus money to invest in low-emission industries such as solar and bioenergy; better coordination of environmental and economic activities at all organization levels; and working together with developed countries, such as the United States, and developing countries, such as India, to develop a global climate agreement and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
"In the past, China's motto was 'conquer nature.' People thought that development should come first and pollution could be cleaned up later,” explained Liu. “It is encouraging that this attitude has begun to change. Investment in green technologies is increasing dramatically. However, fundamental changes in the development model and in the administrative system are urgently needed. Through institutional, scientific and technological innovations, China can help achieve global sustainability."
Liu holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at MSU and is director of the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. This research is funded by the National Science Foundation and supported by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy