Chinese pedestrian wears a mask to protect herself from thick pollution as she walks her dog in central Beijing December 3, 2004. Beijingers have been warned to stay indoors as heavy pollution has covered the city for three days. With its energy shortage reaching crisis levels, China is furiously building new coal-fired power plants, reversing years of improvements in pollution control.
The study, released today by the Netherlands Environmental
AssessmentAgency, says that in 2006 China produced 6,200m tonnes of
CO2pollution, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US, which has
long beenthe world's top climate polluter.
Onereason for China's massive CO2 emissions is that over the
years, theWest has effectively exported a great portion of it's
manufacturingthere. No environmental conditions were attached to
this manufacturingmove, and today we see the result.
"The only thing corporations were interested in was the price of
labour," said Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven on his blog."This
trend kept the price of our products and inflation down, but atthe
cost of soaring greenhouse gas emissions in China. In the longterm,
this policy has been a climate disaster. It's the downside
No excuses for China
Coalaccounts for 69 percent of the primary energy in China - 42
percenthigher than the world's average. And China is beginning to
realise theconsequences of burning fossil fuels, not least because
it is alreadysuffering serious impacts from climate change
including worseningtyphoons, desertification and melting
"To develop in acleaner way is possible," said Ailun Yang,
Greenpeace China Climate andEnergy Campaign Manager. "China has to
decouple its economicdevelopment from the consumption of polluting
fossil fuels. TheChinese government needs to raise the development
ambitions forrenewable energies and implement its binding energy
Atthe beginning of June, China's National Climate Change
Programmeoutlined measures China would take to combat climate
change. This atleast shows that the Chinese government acknowledges
the problems ofclimate change as well as the responsibility of
China to help tacklingthese problems. However, the biggest problem
with the NationalProgramme, as with government programmes
everywhere, is the actualimplementation of its targets.
"Greenpeace urges governments at all levels in China to
implement the National Plan on Climate Change," said Yang.
No excuses for anyone
Percapita the US remains the world's worst number one CO2
polluter. Onaverage, people in China are responsible for 3.5 tonnes
of CO2 each peryear, whereas in the UK it's nearly 10 tonnes and
for North Americansit's 20 tonnes. The G8 (world's richest
nations) are alsoresponsible for over 80 percent of the climate
change we areexperiencing today, and still emit over 40 percent of
"If we are to protect the global climate every helpmust be given
to assist China to clean up its act. They put in theright
supportive policy. We have the technology. The two must be
puttogether," concluded Sauven. "But we also have to examine
ourconsumption binge of cheap Chinese products made in factories
dependenton very polluting forms of energy."
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