Climate change: Tracking China’s steel addiction in one city

Wuzhou, in southern China, is a living example of the country’s dependence on its “build, build, build” mantra to boost development. It was one of many contributors to China’s record output of a staggering one billion tonnes of steel last year.

But increasingly, cities like this are having to grapple with China’s climate change goals and the big question: will it cut emissions quickly enough?

“No, it (the development) won’t stop.”

The grandpa, playing cards with two friends in his blue shirt, was adamant. I was standing next to him in a corner of a recently constructed but mostly empty shopping mall. “Ten years ago… this was just barren mountains and ridges. It’s developed so well.”

The 68-year-old insisted that the environment and water were all good. “Everything is nice, especially the people. Everyone is happy.”

As we talked, his grandson played with a few friends in the centre of the mall. With red Communist Party scarves tied around their necks, they were building walls with multi-coloured foam blocks. The “build” mantra is in their blood.