ISSN 1002-1027  CN 11-2952/G2

Acta scientiarum naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis

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The Relationship between Industrial Development and Environmental Impacts in China

MAO Jiansu1,3YANG Zhifeng1LU Zhongwu2LIU Ruimin1   

  1. 1School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing,100875; 2SEPA Key Laboratory on Eco-industry, Northeastern University, Shenyang, 110004; 3Corresponding author,E-mail:
  • Received:2006-07-17 Online:2007-11-20 Published:2007-11-20

Abstract: It remains a matter for considerable debate whether developing countries can achieve a win-win situation for both economic growth and environmental improvement. The authors explore the possibility of a win-win situation from theoretical and practical standpoints. In a theoretical study, the authors introduce the concept of “eco-efficiency" and transform the IPAT equation into a new pattern, “the ISE equation", in which environmental impact equals the service provided by a specific system divided by the eco-efficiency of the system. The authors then focus on an economic system and quantify the relationship between environmental impacts and economic growth by assuming exponential growth in the economy and in eco-efficiency. The results indicated that environmental impacts can only be reduced if eco-efficiency grows at a faster rate than the economy. In a practical study, the authors examine the environmental impacts of wastewater, waste gases, solid wastes, and several pollutants from 1992 to 2002, and analyze the relationships between these industrial environmental impacts and industrial economic growth in China. The results indicated that, except for the total volume of industrial waste gases, all other environmental efficiencies have been increasing faster than the corresponding gross industrial product. Consequently, the net environmental impacts of these factors have been decreasing despite rapid industrial economic growth. This indicates that the impact of this growth on China's environment has been improving during the study period.