China boom savages coral reefs, study finds

December 27, 2012
This file photo shows the sunset in Sansha, China's newest city, anchored on a remote tropical island in the South China Sea, on July 20, 2012. China's economic boom has seen its coral reefs shrink by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years, according to a joint Australian study, with researchers describing "grim" levels of damage and loss.

China's economic boom has seen its coral reefs shrink by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years, a joint Australian study found, with researchers describing "grim" levels of damage and loss.

Scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral and the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology said their survey of and South China Sea reefs showed alarming degradation.

"We found that coral abundance has declined by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years on coastal fringing reefs along the Chinese mainland and adjoining Hainan Island," said the study, published in the latest edition of the journal Conservation Biology.

"On offshore atolls and archipelagos claimed by six countries in the South China Sea, coral cover has declined from an average of greater than 60 percent to around 20 percent within the past 10-15 years," it added.

, pollution and overfishing linked to the Asian giant's aggressive economic expansion were the major drivers, the authors said, describing a "grim picture of decline, degradation and destruction".

"China's ongoing economic expansion has exacerbated many wicked environmental problems, including widespread due to coastal development, unsustainable levels of fishing and pollution," the study said.

Coral loss in the South China Sea—where reefs stretch across some 30,000 square kilometres (12,000 square miles)—was compounded by poor governance stemming from competing territorial claims.

Some marine parks aimed at conservation had been established but study author Terry Hughes said they were too small and too far apart to arrest the decline in coral cover.

"The window of opportunity to recover the reefs of the South is closing rapidly, given the state of degradation revealed in this study," he said.

More than 30 years of unbridled economic growth has left large parts of China environmentally devastated, with the nation suffering from some of the most severe air, water and land pollution in the world, global studies have shown.

Such destruction has led to widespread local frustration and a number of protests, some of which have succeeded in getting proposed new factories and facilities cancelled or postponed.

The government has laid out a road map to transform China's development mode to one that is more environmentally friendly and less dependent on headlong economic growth.

The Sea is strategically significant, home to some of the world's most important shipping lanes and believed to be rich in resources.

China claims most of the sea including waters near the shores of its neighbours. Rival claimants include Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, and tensions over the issue have flared in recent years.

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1 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2012
Regulation of US industry by the US government - taxation, environmental concerns, labor laws, etc, - forced US companies to shift a massive amount of production to China. China, who (apparently) is not burdened by such concerns, has a significantly lower cost of production.

I think many of us knew what was going to happen to the environment in and around China. Heaping more regulation (read "expense") on US companies (such as AGW regs) will only make environmental concerns in China worse.
5 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2012
Since I have AGW tattooed on middle finger, let me support the USA! You can alway through bad money after bad! At least the USA has some environmental protections for it's citizens and has cleaned up some of its worst environmental nightmares. Think Lake Erie back in the 60's, or Cleveland's river catching fire.

Sorry... No. That is not a direction you want the USA to follow ScooterG.

And yes, ScoooterG, it is a problem that we United Statesians have shipped our manufacturing to China, the most toxic types of manufacturing. It not only effects them, but eventually it will effect us. I can't say how, but usually that is the way it works out.

1 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2012
Since I have AGW tattooed on middle finger...

I don't follow any of what you posted.

I appreciate/enjoy the cleaner environment we have in the US due to environmental regs. I do not like the fact that our mfg went oversees, but I do not think protectionism/tariffs/sanctions and all the tit-for-tat that goes with it is in our best interests.

Likely all we can do is to let the chinese learn from their mistakes, then let them resolve their own environmental consequences. We (the US) need to lead by example, cuz I doubt the chinese will listen to us preach.
1 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2012
Where are all the Western environmental groups protesting and marching in the streets of Beijing to save the planet?
The 'progressives' are all praising the Chinese for their 'efficient' government.
not rated yet Dec 31, 2012
Where are all the Western environmental groups protesting and marching in the streets of Beijing to save the planet?
The 'progressives' are all praising the Chinese for their 'efficient' government.

The lying moron "speaks"...

Better get your progeny out of that socialist school before they emigrate to Beijing, Swenson.

1 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2012
"Michael Levy, who recently wrote a book on his stint as a Peace Corps worker in rural China (yes, China still asks for Peace Corps help) put it well in an interview with NPR: "Imagine that there's a country exactly like the United States. Exactly the same size. It's got the same cities. It's got the same number of rich people and poor people. It's just like us. And now add 1 billion peasants. That's China."

And yet that's the country President Obama insists we need to emulate. "Everybody's watching what's going on in Beijing right now with the Olympics," then-candidate Obama told an audience in Virginia in 2008. "Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are vastly superior to us now,"
1 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2012
"It's not just Friedman. Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union, wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "China's Superior Economic Model." He cited Bo — and his "people-oriented development in Chongqing" — as one of the impressive assets of "Team China." Ann Lee's new book. "What the US Can Learn From China," asks, among other things, "How does the Chinese political system avoid partisan rancor, but achieve genuine political accountability?""
"The Bo scandal shows the Chinese system to be as thoroughly rotten as one would expect of a kleptocratic police state. What is unusual is only that it wasn't kept under wraps.

The country is run by a small number of Mafia-style families {typical 'progressive'} jostling with one another for power and profits. China's power brokers are quasi-feudal lords with networks of cronies grasping all that they can."
1 / 5 (4) Dec 31, 2012
"The country is run by a small number of Mafia-style families"

What will be interesting to witness will be when the chi-coms start competing with the mexicans for America's illegal drug business. It will be a blood-letting that would make Genghis Khan proud!

We have blood diamonds, why not blood drugs?

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