China tries to go green

CO2 emissions in the Asian power are a problem for all of us

China tries to go green

China’s pollution has been increasing while its economy has been growing. In the EDGAR database created by European Commission and Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, for 2015 China, the United States and the European Union were the countries at the top of the Carbon Dioxide emission index, with China overwhelmingly in the lead. According to the EDGAR database, China was emitting 10.641.789 CO2 Kt. These three territories also have the world’s largest economies, accounting for more than half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.  

Today, air pollution in China kills more than 1 million people per year. This situation made China’s Premier of the State Council, Li Keqiang, announced a plan to reduce the emissions by diminishing the production of steel and coal electricity and replacing it with greener energy sources like wind and solar power. It is important to remember that China leads as the world’s biggest investor in clean energy technology.

The green plan, launched in 2013, established a 5 year long term plan focused on reducing the air pollution in certain city clusters. The objective is that air quality should meet the World Health Organization standard of concentration of fine particles, which is 35 micrograms per cubic meter at the most. In the first half of 2016, 25% of the cities had achieved the standard, which shows an incredible improvement. We are yet to see the final results in 2018.

It is worth mentioning that China started an industrial career in 1978 under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. This fast industrialization process was done in the same fashion as the industrialization in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, except that China it took place some centuries later. Even though industrialization brought a lot of economic benefits for this World power, the results have been disastrous in terms of environmental damage, which explains the correlation between GDP and pollution and continues even today.

After the European and United States governments understood the damage industrialization had caused in the environment they implemented harsh environmental regulations which forced their corporations to move their factories to third world countries, which had much less severe environmental protection laws. China has now followed the footsteps of other leading economies, as shown in the recent heavy investment done by this country in Latin-American and Africa.

A reduction in the CO2 emissions of China, given its weight in the global percentage of pollution emissions, is very positive for the world as a whole, but it is important that these emissions are not simply translated to factories in the less developed countries.


Latin American Post | Juan Cabrera

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto