China’s new and consolidated green building targets are progressive, specific and large-scale to say the least. The country is being praised by green leaders around the world for its commitment to drastically reducing carbon emissions; with such a large population the carbon cutting of China has always been expected to achieve extreme results, something that environmentalists worldwide are anticipating.
However, the country’s motivation for a greener nation is something that has not been overtly specified.
Back in the late 2000’s, pollution was the catalyst for a discussion regarding environmentalism in the country and, according to the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy founder Peggy Lui, it still stands as one the major catalysts for the country’s commitment to taking drastic measures.
As she pointed at the Australian Property Council’s Sustainable Development Conference, excess carbon emissions are a visible issue in China. It is for this reason that the commitment to change is so strong. The visual cues of pollution and environmental damage are an every day occurrence, the greatest being the ever-present smog.
Many countries do not have these reminders even if their carbon output is high. In Australia, for instance, there is no rubbish piling up in metropolitan rivers or constant smog and smoke, but the country still stands as one of the world’s greatest carbon emitters per capita.
However, as Liu points out, Australia’s response to the drought situation was just as strong as China’s is currently towards climate change. Australians had the visual cues of drought – yellow grass and the visibly low water reserves – and so the response was extreme.
Liu is adamant is suggesting that China’s incentive towards green building is not a moral decision but a logical one.
She says the positive mindset toward green building by the Chinese people will depend on the growing amount of education regarding the practice, as well as the promotion and development of sustainability as a part of the country’s social norms.
In developing a new cultural identity or ‘dream’ as the JUCCCE founder labels it, green building patterns, industry developments and lifestyles can truly take on sustainable roots. Even though China’s green building motivation may not be one that is typically sentimental, it has nonetheless been shown to reap extreme results – something the country is well on its way to achieving.