Not so long ago, a much larger proportion of Chinese citizens was poor. From 1981 to 2008, the poverty rate was slashed from 85 percent to 13 percent. But this was rapid economic development has had a toll on the environment.
Nowadays, the air quality in the capital city of Beijing is “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter” as a Chinese crop scientist quoted in Treehugger remarked. But this might change soon as the local government is well aware of this situation.
Indeed, we have seen extensively how China is moving massively on energy efficiency, renewables such as solar and wind and on closing dirty and inefficient coal-fired plants.