Why the world needs a Plan B for China

By Lester Brown

China has now overtaken the US as the world's leading resource consumer. Among the basic commodities -- grain and meat in the food sector, oil and coal in the energy sector, and steel in the industrial sector -- China now consumes more of each of these than the US except for oil. It consumes nearly twice as much meat -- 67 million tonnes compared with 39 million tonnes in the US; and more than twice as much steel -- 258 million tonnes to 104 million.

The important questions now are: what if China's consumption per person of these resources reaches the current US level, and how long will it take for China's income per person to reach the US level?


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