Chinese Pollution Fighting Budget Will Have to Be Bigger than its Military Budget

China will spend $275 billion over the next five years improving air quality—roughly the same as the GDP of Hong Kong, and twice the size of the annual defence budget [40% of the defence budget over the same five years]. China is also spending to clean up water pollution.
China plans to invest 2.3 trillion yuan ($375 billion) in energy saving and emission-reduction projects in the five years through 2015 to clean up its environment. This is about 54% of the projected $685 billion that China will spend on its military over 5 years. The plan, which has been approved by the State Council, is on top of a 1.85 trillion yuan investment in the renewable energy sector. Combined the energy saving and emission-reduction projects and the renewables buildup is $675 billion. China would benefit more by shifting military budget into pollution fighting. China has sufficient military and has nuclear and military to deter any attack and to meet basic military goals. China’s pollution is harming its economy now and harming the health of everyone and killing upwards of 1 million people each year.
The health costs of air and water pollution in China amount to about 4.3 percent of its GDP. By adding the non-health impacts of pollution, which are estimated to be about 1.5 percent of GDP, the total cost of air and water pollution in China is about 5.8 percent of GDP.
China’s economy will go from $8.5 trillion this year to about $12-20 trillion in 2018 (depending upon RMB currency appreciation). The cost to China will be $490 billion to 1.2 trillion in each of the years. It will be in the range of $3-5 trillion over the 5 year timeframe.
In January 2013 the air of Beijing hit a level of toxicity 40 times above what the World Health Organization deems safe. A tenth of the country’s farmland is poisoned with chemicals and heavy metals. Half of China’s urban water supplies are unfit even to wash in, let alone drink. In the northern half of the country air pollution lops five-and-a-half years off the average life.