Chinese Economic Development and the Environment

Chinese Economic Development and the Environment

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Shunsuke Managi and Shinji Kaneko

Over the past two decades, China has become an economic powerhouse. However, as the world’s largest producer of CO2 emissions, the scale and seriousness of China’s environmental problems are clearly evident. This pioneering book provides an economic analysis of the significant environmental and energy problems facing China in the 21st century.

Chapter 12: Experts’ Judgment on the Future Perspective

Shunsuke Managi and Shinji Kaneko

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, development studies, asian development, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, asian environment, environmental economics


INTRODUCTION The environment is a complex system where social and natural forces are mutually interacting with each other. Without a systematic analysis, forecasting environmental issues is impossible. As human activities become diverse and intensive, the complexity of mutual relations in the system increases, and this makes forecasting more difficult. Since there exists no forecasting model which can perfectly reproduce complicated real-world phenomena, selecting some areas, fields or indices out of a whole system of natural and social systems is a realistic approach. A number of approaches have been carried out to obtain future perspectives on the condition of the environment and development in a region or the whole world (Morita, 1995; IPCC, 1997). These approaches can be roughly classified into two categories. One of them is a top-down approach where one draws some empirical relationships among indices from a macroscopic viewpoint and forecasts the future based on certain premises or scenarios (for example, Meadows et al., 1972). In order to obtain a reliable result by this approach, it is crucial to determine whether an empirical rule obtained in the past can be applied to the future, and whether scenarios drawn will likely be realized. Another is a bottom-up approach based on the accumulation of very detailed data from finely divided areas and different sectors (for example, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 1992; AIM Project Team, 1995). Models under this approach are becoming larger and more complicated, and intensive effort is needed to establish a complete dataset. Some factors might cause...

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