True, the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway could cut carbon emission because fewer people are expected to fly between the two cities now, reducing the number of flights.
But the high-speed railway will stimulate urbanization, which will cause more environmental degradation and increase carbon emissions. Satellite cities of Beijing and Shanghai are likely to grow and develop rapidly. People who work in the two big cities may choose to buy a house in a place like, Langfang, Hebei province, because it is less congested and polluted, and houses there are a lot bigger and prices much lower.
Besides, people who shift to a city like Langfang would tend to use more cars, increasing carbon emissions and causing more harm to the environment.
High-speed railway will expand across China in the coming years. The length of high-speed railway at present is just over 6,000 kilometers, which is likely to increase to about 24,000 km in five years.
Since high-speed railway is bound to expedite urbanization and increase pollution, the authorities should take corresponding measures to protect the environment.
Kai Xue, via e-mail
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