The flip side of an economic miracle
China is a country with severe air pollution, due to emissions from coal-powered industries, cars and heating systems. Its rapid economic development has led to increased emissions of greenhouse gases, ozone precursors and aerosols. In the last few years, the atmosphere in the big cities often becomes unbearable, as there is dense, putty-colored smog.
China is currently the top emitter of CO2 and greenhouse gases, but as far as historical emissions (1850-2007) are concerned, US still tops the list by a wide margin.
Additionally, a new study published earlier this March in Nature journal, estimates that China’s share in current global climate forcing reaches 10% (±4%). This is the first comprehensive assessment of the country’s contribution to the problem and has been quantified via biogeochemical and atmospheric models. This knowledge is important to the implementation of the agreement on ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’, reached by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The study also suggests that improvement of air quality in China (via reduction of SO2 emissions) could lead to an increased contribution to global warming, unless larger reductions of greenhouse gases and black carbon also take place.
Source: Business Insider