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International research effort evidences increased sustainability focus in China

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“Whilst the challenges that other countries face may be of a different nature, we all have a finite amount of natural resources and in the future will need to develop innovative solutions to improving sustainability in a changing world”

After 40 years of reform and ‘opening up,’ China has made remarkable economic progress. However, prosperity has been coupled with environmental degradation and the country has a considerable way to go toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, an international research collaboration including the James Hutton Institute has found.

The study shows that the country has made progress in poverty reduction, health care provision and gender equity in education, while income disparity continues between regions and with rural-urban populations. China’s desire to achieve ‘ecological civilisation’ has resulted in a reduction of major pollutants in the environment since 2015, while strong coupling remains with CO2 emissions.

Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of Research at the James Hutton Institute and a co-author of the study, said: “Many of the problems regarding sustainable development in China are shared global problems.

“Whilst the challenges that other countries face may be of a different nature, we all have a finite amount of natural resources and in the future will need to develop innovative solutions to improving sustainability in a changing world.”

The authors argue that China’s progress toward economic prosperity and concomitant sustainability provides important insights for other countries.

The paper Forty years of reform and opening up: China’s progress toward a sustainable path, by Yonglong Lu, Yueqing Zhang, Xianghui Cao, Chenchen Wang, Yichao Wang, Meng Zhang, Robert C. Ferrier, Alan Jenkins, Jingjing Yuan, Mark J. Bailey, Deliang Chen, Hanqin Tian, Hong Li, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Zhongxiang Zhang, is available in the latest issue of Science Advances and can be accessed here.

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Printed from /news/international-research-effort-evidences-increased-sustainability-focus-china on 11/11/19 10:41:04 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.