China’s Climate Commitment

China – currently the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide – is emerging as a global leader in climate policy as it seeks to build a cleaner and more efficient economy. Indeed, China’s efforts to curb pollution while shifting to a more sustainable growth model can provide valuable lessons for governments worldwide.

BEIJING – In what some might consider a surprising development, China – currently the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide – is emerging as a global leader in climate policy as it seeks to build a cleaner and more efficient economy. Indeed, China’s efforts to curb pollution and environmental destruction, while shifting to a more sustainable growth model, can provide valuable lessons for governments worldwide.

The first step toward sustainable economic growth is to recognize, as China’s leaders have, that pollution – produced largely through coal-fired power plants – is profoundly damaging citizens’ lives and livelihoods, particularly in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Moreover, greenhouse-gas emissions are contributing to climate change, the effects of which, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns, could prove devastating for all countries, with China highly vulnerable.

Moreover, China is already the world’s largest oil importer, and energy demand continues to increase rapidly. As a result, energy security has become a serious issue.

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