The impact of China’s development: is there a need to alter land- use and transport policy in Europe?
Thinking, and worrying about, the impact that the rapid developments in China will have on the global environment and the global economy is not new. In the field of transport, environmental NGOs as well as researchers and others have previously warned against the fast increase of motorization in China and have asked for new strategies for the automobile industry and for transport policy in the developed countries as well. The main idea was that if developed countries pursued a path of development that recognized the environmental need to avoid global warming and could show that this strategy would be economically successful, the threshold countries would accept such a path and would follow. These warnings did not yet have consequences for the behaviour and strategies of the most important stakeholders – industry and policy-makers. Therefore, the initiative to organize an international conference on the topic of the consequences that Chinese development would have for Europe was an excellent idea for promoting discussion on this issue. Here in Europe we often think about global consequences, such as global warming, but this topic remains rather abstract. Very often, we have the feeling that rich countries are able to handle the problems and avoid the impact of global effects on their own country. By and by it becomes clearer that global warming will affect all countries, even the rich ones, and that the developments in China will change the global markets for raw materials, energy, etc., and simultaneously the development of other threshold countries (www.sternreview.org.uk (accessed 3 October 2008)); UNEP 2007: iiif., 2f.; Steiner 2007: 1ff.).