Over the last few decades, China has grown to be one of the biggest economic powerhouses in the world. The country has had a roaring industrial success and by no means is it planning to slow down. However, with China’s economic growth, comes a serious issue, growing carbon pollution.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic hitting the country badly, China has seen a tremendous bounce back. However, with that progress, China is now the biggest producer of carbon pollution among the developed countries.
The rest of the developed countries including the US and members of the EU are working actively in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. However, it looks like the carbon pollution production of China has more than tripled over the last 30 years. Its coal-intensive economy has now managed to surpass that of some of the major developed nations. China alone produced 27% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions last year.
China’s per-person emission has now reached 10.1 tons, which is just below the average 10.5 tons of the 37-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The US still is on top when it comes to the per capita emission with 17.6 tons per person. However, now that they’re back on Paris Agreement on Climate Change, President Joe Biden has pledged to halve the US’s emission by 2030. But China, on other hand, still burns half of the world’s coal inside its borders. Despite installing numerous wind turbines and solar panels, most Chinese industries still depend on fossil fuels and the carbon-intensive electrical grid.
China argues that it is under its right to burn fossil fuels as other countries have done the same in the past. To be fair, developed countries in the past few centuries have emitted around 1,000 gigatons cumulatively. However, China alone has emitted a cumulative 200 gigatons of carbon pollution in the same time frame.
Another reason why China’s argument doesn’t have a lot of bases is the fact that renewable sources weren’t in practice back then. So, while the rest of the world is working on switching to renewable energy, China still heavily depends on fossil fuels and coal plants. China emitted 52 megatons of carbon pollution in 2019 alone.
The economic powerhouse has taken a pledge for the Paris Climate Agreement. It states that by 2030 China will hit its carbon pollution peak and in 30 years, it’ll reach net zero.