China Cutting Carbon
Despite what you might have heard from politicians about China's use of coal, the country's greenhouse gas emissions are actually declining. "China’s coal use and carbon emissions have dropped for the last two years. In 2015, China cut its coal use 3.7 percent and its emissions declined an estimated 1–2 percent, following similar decreases in 2014," according to an article by Ben Adler in Grist.
This decrease takes place as China enters a new phase of its development, with future growth no longer completely dominated by manufacturing and heavy industry but moving more toward service industries. Adler believes this, along with seven other reasons, point to a long-term revision in China’s attitude toward climate change.
Among the seven reasons highlighted in the article, Adler cites:
- China's soon-to-be-launched carbon market
- New nuclear, solar, and wind power generation
- Updates to China's building codes that emphasize efficiency
Adler concedes that some of the slowdown in pollution is tied to a slowdown in the Chinese economy and that these gains will shrink when Chinese consumers have the confidence to buy, and drive as they have in years past. But, the structural changes will remain and that should be good news to those concerned about climate change.