As part of the Choking on Growth multimedia feature, NYTimes.com is conducting an expert roundtable on China’s environmental crisis. Participants so far include Elizabeth Economy and Yang Fuqiang. Tomorrow morning Orville Schell will answer questions that readers can post now on the site. From Elizabeth Economy’s responses:
Without being too dramatic about it, I think that nothing short of a complete political overhaul can get China where it needs to be. I wouldn’t necessarily change the general regulatory direction of the Chinese leadership, its efforts to improve pollution monitoring, etc. There are of course steps such as pricing resources such as water closer to replacement cost, enlarging the staff of the State Environmental Protection Administration, and raising fines for polluting enterprises that I would advance.
Fundamentally, however, an authoritarian, decentralized, endemically corrupt political system has little hope of becoming a global environmental leader, much less getting its own environmental house in order. [Full text]