This book review is from the recent issue of Economist.
“As China explodes economically, it is imploding ecologically. The flipside of the country’s rapid growth is a worrying degradation of its environment. According to the World Bank, it is home to 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, while deforestation (begun centuries ago) has turned a quarter of the country into desert. With only a tenth as many cars, Beijing pumps out as much carbon monoxide as Los Angeles and Tokyo combined.
As described by Elizabeth Economy, a director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, an American think-tank, the scale of China’s environmental degradation is shocking. Her book is particularly strong in its examination of the peculiarly Chinese reasons—beyond the country’s rapid development and huge population pressure—that lie behind this: the leadership’s obsession with short-term growth to preserve social stability, whatever the ultimate cost, is one; the weak rule of law and a tradition of devolving power to the regions, where watchdogs and polluters are often in collusion, is another.”
(Underlines were added by me.)