China’s carbon emissions have hit a new record, but it’s the next few years that matter most

September 22, 2014 8:39 AM

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China’s carbon emissions have hit a new record, but it’s the next few years that matter most

But China has already helped global emissions to grow a little more slowly. Last year, its total emissions grew 2.3% to 36.1 billion tonnes (39 billion tons), lower than the average yearly growth for the past decade of 2.5%, according to the report by the Global Carbon Project. That slight drop is mostly because of China’s economic slowdown, but it’s the country’s newly pledged “war on pollution” that could actually make a difference.

Growing public anger over China’s air and water pollution, as well as a new environmental law and focus on renewable energy, raise the possibility that Chinese leaders may finally be serious about tackling the country’s carbon emissions. “There is a popular mandate for cleaning up the environment. T...

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