China has certainly bought into consumerism in a big and perhaps irreversible way. General Motors has sold off now its Hummer division to a Chinese buyer, the Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company. Tengzhong’s CEO is quoted int eh New York Times as saying that:
‘The Hummer brand is synonymous with adventure, freedom and exhilaration,
and we plan to continue that heritage’.
Plainly he hasn’t heard of peak oil.
One might take issue with this interpretation of such ‘a symbol of gas-guzzling, road-hogging American excess’ (as the FT’s correspondents put it), but it is hard to avoid also seeing it as yet another symptom of China’s growing environmental impact still farther. And contrary to China’s stated defence of its unwillingness to impose carbon emission limits on itself, this is hardly the kind of development that a poor country needs to create a decent standard of living for its people.