Skip to main content

China’s Belt and Road Initiative ‘riskiest environmental project in history’

by Futures Centre, Aug 8
1 minute read

A global expert on major infrastructure projects has described China’s $8 trillion Belt and Road Initiative to create a “modern Silk Road” with sea and land links across Asia, Africa and Europe as the “riskiest environmental project in history.”

In a call for further research, Professor William Laurence of James Cook University cautions that the infrastructure projects could have devastating environmental impacts on biodiversity and the world’s carbon sinks. He cited environmental costs associated with the raw materials required to build the infrastructure as well the secondary effects of building into environmentally sensitive areas. It is feared that by providing access to previously remote areas the infrastructure could facilitate detrimental activity, such as illegal logging in tropical forests, particularly in states where environmental safeguards are weak. The researchers also fear the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, such as oil pipelines, could lock states into high-carbon futures.


by Futures Centre Spotted 1994 signals

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.