Monday, May 14, 2007

Green China?

One of the favorite excuses of certain western governments, our own most definitely included, for not taking major action on climate change is that China trumps all.

It's true that China produces close to the lion's share of the worlds greenhouse gasses and many other pollutants as well - see the rankings list in the comments. What's not true is the contention that they are doing nothing about it.

It may have taken driving right up to the edge of environmental Armageddon - and yes, maybe over the edge - but China has begun a massive and unprecedented transformation - environmental consciousness is strong and growing among China's elite and beginning to trickle down to the public at large.

The same authoritarian central control that allowed them to rapidly transform from a developing agrarian society to a massively industrialized one - a transformation that took centuries in the West took decades in China - is now being directed towards the massive environmental damage this rapid transition caused.

It's still one of the most poisoned countries on Earth, soon producing the most CO2 of any country with its vast network of dirty coal power, and will be for quite a while, but there seems to be a growing recognition that they can't stay that way.


bruno_canada said...

um, dude - just a fact check

you wrote:

"It's true that China produces the lion's share of the worlds greenhouse gasses and many other pollutants as well."

The US emits more, in absolute amounts and per capita, than any other country.

BBC Chart of big 5 emitters


that being said, i recognise and do not want to distract from your core point that your point is that China is changing and will continue to change its emmissions rate

Cliff said...

Agreed - check my last paragraph.

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