Saturday, April 21, 2007

China on Brink of Becoming World's Leading Greenhouse Gas Emitter

Sources: China About to Pass US as World's Top Generator of Greenhouse Gases, China: Rampant Growth Spurs Emissions

A recent report from Beijing authorities revealed that China will probably replace the United States by 2008 as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The International Energy Agency, based in Paris, also released information showing that China's rate of greenhouse gas emissions has been increasing at a rate much greater than all other industrialized nations. China's National Bureau of Statistics showed that China's fossil fuel consumption increased by more than 9% in 2006, compared to the U.S.'s increase of 1.2% that same year. China's total greenhouse gas emissions were about 42% of that of the U.S. in 2001. The increased rates of emissions took China's total to almost 97% of the U.S.'s total in 2006.

Analysts are concerned about what consequences China's economic growth and increased energy consumption will have on the environment and global warming issues. Evidence suggests that local Chinese officials are prioritizing economic development over environmental protection. However, the national government of China are introducing incentives to local officials based on economic success as well as enivironmental protection. President Bush had refused to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol because it bound only industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and left fast-developing countries such as China exempt.

Question: How can China balance economic growth with environmental concerns? What policies should the government implement to strike such a balance?

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