Material flow analysis of Chinese economic-environmental system
2000, 15 (1):
The material flow theory and methodology have been applied to analyze quantitative characteristics of the total material requirement(TMR),the material intensity and the material productivity in the Chinese economic system during 1989 and 1996.The aim of the study is to estimate resource and environmental costs of the eco nomic development and to evaluate the sustainability of the economic environmental system.The conclusions are shown as follows:(a)The TMR of China is 1.6 times as much as that of the USA in 1994,which indicates that the resource and environmental costs of the economic development in China are enormous.(b)Even though the material requirement per capita in China is much smaller than those in the developed countries,the domestic material requirement per capita in China in 1994 is yet 1.1 and 1.5 times as much as those in the Netherlands and Japan,respectively.This result implies that the Chinese national economy is mainly depended on the consumption of domestic natural resources.(c)The ratio of GNP to TMR in China in 1994 accounted for only 2%～6% of the ratios in the developed countries,which shows that the efficiency of the resource utilization in China is very low.In terms of the composition of the TMR,the largest contributor is the excavation for infrastructure,secondly is the input and its ecological rucksack of fossil fuels,thirdly is the input and its ecological rucksack of construction materials and fourthly is the soil erosion.If the exploitation volume of water resources would be brought into the material input of the economic system,the tap water supply would account for more than 50% of the TMR.In the present stage of Chinese economic development,coal,construction materials,iron,crops and fresh water are the most important material requirements; the excavation of water conservancy projects is the strongest disturbing force to the environmental system and the soil erosion is the most significant indicator of the ecological degradation.Taking the present material productivity of China as the start point,we propose a mid and long term strategic goal in connection with the four fold and the ten fold increase in resource efficiency for 2025 and 2050,respectively.This kind of national goal will meet the overall target of the resource consumption towards the global sustainable development.
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