In its latest five-year plan, China is set to drastically reduce its carbon emissions relative to GDP. Their target is to cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 3.5 percent year on year.
Does this pose a threat for Australia, which relies heavily on exports to China and is seemingly incapable of making forward steps in implementing its own green economy?
In this edition of BTalk, I ask Vic Edwards, a senior lecturer in banking and finance at the University of NSW and a director of the Australia China Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade, what threats exist for our relationship with China.
Their demand for fossil fuels certainly helped see Australia through the global financial crisis. Could a greener China slow growth in these exports, especially when coupled with China’s own exploration and search for other overseas partners?
There’s also the question of the Chinese economy; with debt levels now as high as 77 percent of GDP, could the country’s growth come crashing down? Or have they mastered the art of high growth and high debt — more achievable, of course, when the debt is being used to build infrastructure to support growth.
While Vic is reassuring in terms of an ongoing relationship with China, he also points out that the government there would like to see more of a partnership approach to the future, rather than Australia being a mere salesperson for it’s own natural resources.
NB: Vic makes comments about nuclear energy in an interview recorded before the catastrophe in Japan.