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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Threatdown: The Heat is on China

China recently passed the US and became the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases. According to US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Chinese emissions are poised to explode.
If China’s emissions of global warming gases keep growing at the pace of the last 30 years, the country will emit more such gases in the next three decades than the United States has in its entire history, said Mr. Chu, a Nobel laureate in physics.
Chu was speaking at Tsinghua University, apparently viewed as China’s top science university.

On US soil, US officials seem even more worried about China's long-term role, implying that the world may view China as a threat to ecological security:
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce that China shared a special responsibility with the United States to address global warming. China passed the United States two years ago as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and the two countries together account for 42 percent of humanity’s emissions of these gases.

“Fifty years from now, we do not want the world to lay the blame for environmental catastrophe at the feet of China,” Mr. Locke said.
In 2007, by the way, European officials annoyed American diplomats by reminding the world that US emissions had increased 60% over 1990 Kyoto baseline levels. As recently as 2005, China claimed that it was reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

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