Monday Program – Week in Review #9

Despite China’s reputation for being one of the least climate-friendly countries in the world, compared to the United States they are taking much more action in regards to reducing fossil fuels as a whole. The Chinese government’s new mindset regarding the earth’s health has lead to the country becoming the largest investor in wind and solar technology globally, while also providing citizens with more jobs connected to solar energy than coal-mining. While this strategy is beneficial to the earth’s health, it also helps China become even more dominant in the sector revolving around critical technologies. Many may ask why the Chinese have suddenly decided to take this new “green” mindset after years of carelessly polluting the air around them. Statistics show that they emit more greenhouse gases than any other country, while also being accountable for 30% of the earth’s global carbon dioxide pollution. As China want to be seen as a reputable world superpower, they seem to now understand that recklessly destroying the climate and overall environment around them is not the way to gain support. Barbara Finamore, Asia director for the Natural Resources Defense Council stated that “China wants to be the leader in the clean energy economy,” while further adding that “Some people say that China was slow to catch up with the Industrial Revolution and kind of lagged behind, perhaps until recently, in the dot-com revolution, but it saw the potential to lead the clean energy revolution from the start — and it’s determined to lead.” China’s new climate-friendly outlook has lead to them joining the Major Economic Forum which consists of leaders from the top countries around the world coming together to discuss climate issues and solutions for the future. The United States was at one point the leader of this forum, but dropped out. Executive Director of the U.S. Climate Alliance, Julie Cerqueira, commented “When the U.S. walked away from the table you saw the EU, Canada and China get together and essentially say that they wanted to be the leaders and so they were the ones convening all the major economies to talk about what a path forward looked like. They would invite the U.S. to be at the table but they weren’t going to wait for them.” With the rest of the world beginning to take notable action to combat the current climate situation, will the United States step up to the plate? 

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