China’s Green Cities

Some self promotion — here is my January 2011 talk at the World Bank that sketches my ongoing work on pollution problems in China’s cities.  Optimists of the world should celebrate that ambient air pollution is starting to improve in China’s cities and this trend is more pronounced in their richer cities and those that attract more Foreign Direct Investment.  Pessimists of the world should “celebrate” that the carbon footprint of China’s cities will grow with increased motorization and more electricity consumption.   

If local environmental quality is improving but GHG emissions are rising, are China’s cities becoming more or less green?  That’s the old riddle in environmental and urban economics.

If you listen to my talk, you will hear an interesting discussion about sprawl’s environmental consequences and the role that government can play in greening cities and a discussion of whether Chinese government officials have the right incentives to tackle “green issues”.  I argue that they do because of their sources of revenues (i.e land auctions).

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

One thought on “China’s Green Cities”

  1. So, we are back to Jevon, and back, even further, to the Classical preoccupation with Rent? All is new, again.

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