Divorces hurt the environment because they double the number of households and reduce the household size, increasing per capita resource consumption and waste. Government-supported mediation, counselling and a mandatory waiting period of one month or more for divorce would help people to think more seriously about divorce.
So, according to Liu and Diamond, Chinese often divorce without thinking seriously about it. In order to preserve marriages and the environment we need Chinese officials whispering offers that troubled couples can't refuse.
They have more recommendations:
China has a lower GDP than Japan and the United States but more serious environmental problems, so it needs proportionally higher environmental investment. Hence China’s budget for environmental protection should rise from its current 1.2% of GDP to rich-nation levels (1.5% in Europe and Japan, and 2% in the United States) or higher. A high investment would make sense on economic grounds alone, by eliminating much of the losses caused by environmental damage. [...] As China moves towards a more market-based economy, more market tools should be applied to environmental issues. Possible examples include: [...] imposing more environmental taxes, such as a higher consumption tax on cars [...]. Investment in education should be increased significantly. Besides ameliorating China’s environmental problems by increasing environmental awareness and decreasing human fertility, educational investments would yield economic benefits by upgrading the skills of China’s work force.
Would you entrust your finances to Liu and Diamond?