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global ecological nightmare if China adopted the American Dream

The earth will experience an ecological nightmare by 2031 if all Chinese were to adopt the current American lifestyle of high consumption, the institute warned Wednesday of US Earth Policy Institute research.

The American Dream, Chinese version, will inevitably lead to environmental and economic global catastrophe as extrapolations of this institute in food consumption, energy and raw materials.

If the Chinese economy grew by 8% per year, doubling every nine years, income per capita will reach USD 2031 38.000 or the current per capita income of the United States, but for a population estimated then at 1,45 billion, says the study.

Currently the average annual income of a Chinese per capita barely reaches 5.300 dollars.

The most alarming projections concern the energy consumption and its consequences.

"Apart from the unbreathable air due to smoke from coal consumption, CO2 emissions from China in 26 years would be equivalent to those emitted from pollution sources throughout the earth today" according to this study.

While the Chinese use proportionally much oil in 2031 Americans today, China will have 99 million barrels of crude per day. The current daily global production is around 79 million barrels.

For coal, if in 26 years each Chinese consumes as much coal as an American (or 2 tonnes per year on average), the country will use 2,8 million tons each year, more than the current annual world production of 2,5 million tons.

"Climate change would no longer be manageable, endangering food security and flooding all coastal agglomerations," warns the institute.

A rate of three cars for four people right now in the United States, the dream of owning a private vehicle lead the Chinese fleet to more than 1,1 billion units in 2031.

"The roads, highways and car parks to absorb all these cars will represent the equivalent of the area devoted today to rice cultivation in China," says the institute.

And if all the Chinese start consuming "as voraciously" in 2031 as the Americans today, the only consumption of cereals per person will go from 291 kg to 935 kg per year.

This will be for the whole of China the equivalent of two thirds of the total world harvest of 2004, which reached just over 2 billion tons, according to the study.

To meet such a demand, it would produce about a billion additional tons of grain by 2031, which could lead to the disappearance of large areas of the Amazon rainforest turned into wheat fields with huge environmental consequences.

In 26 years, if the Chinese consume as much meat as Americans today -125 kg per person in 2004- production in China is expected to rise to 181 million tonnes against 64 million tonnes today. This would represent four fifths of current world meat production.

The aim of the exercise is "not to throw the stone at China for unrestrained consumption" but rather to warn against the temptations to live according to the Western model of the "consumer society", while the resources are limited, concludes the study.

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