Banyan: Asia’s alarming cities | The Economist
IF YOU are the sort to worry at night about man-induced climate change, then book a stay at any of the new high-rise hotels going up on the edge of China’s big cities—start looking for them around the third ring road. When you stagger red-eyed out of bed to peer into the murky dawn, you will see rank upon serried rank of raw “superblock” developments, a mile apart, marching into the distance. You think of the emissions involved in their carbon-hungry construction, the traffic jams on the arteries tying them into the expanding city, and the new coal-fired power stations being built to light them up. And you wonder how Asia can change its habits—energy consumption grew by 70% in the ten years to 2008—before it is too late for all of us.