Thursday, February 19, 2015

China's Environment and Climate Efforts

China may be the world's largest carbon emitter but they are also a leader in climate mitigation efforts. Their leadership includes the government support for renewable energy including both solar and wind power.

In addition to signing an ambitious emissions reduction deal with the US that will reduce domestic emissions, China is also helping other nations to cope with climate change.

China is also helping small nations to cope with climate change. There is no better illustration of this than the relationship being forged between China and the Maldives. Chinese President XI said just before a visit to the tiny island nation.

"China will continue to pursue close cooperation with [the Maldives] on climate change, human rights and other issues," Xi said in a signed article published in the Maldivian media just before his arrival, Xinhua reported.

Chinese interest in environmental issues is not reserved for the political elite. The average Chinese citizen also wants to see action on pollution and the environment.

A growing number of Chinese are actively protesting in support of a cleaner environment. The government of China has responded by agreeing to cut its emissions intensity by 45 percent by 2020. Even before the announcement in June 2014 China has already succeeded in cutting emissions. In 2013 carbon intensity has dropped by more than 28 percent and their renewable energy capacity has increased significantly.

While people in the US continue to argue about the veracity of anthropogenic climate change, people in China want action. Twice as many Chinese see environmental concerns as paramount compared to Americans.

One third of Chinese said that pollution and the environment are the greatest danger in the world while less than half that percentage of Americans share this view.

According to an October 2014, Pew Research Center poll, 33 percent of Chinese ranked "Pollution and Environment" as the "greatest danger in the world" compared with only 15 percent of Americans.

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