New reports from the United Nations indicate that China is leading the world in terms of preventing climate change, while the United States is falling behind. Even though China is the single largest emitter of pollution in the world, it is emitting less pollution than the United States per capita.
According to the leading climate official of the United Nations Christiana Figueres, the United States is having a difficult time curbing its usage of fossil fuels. She stated that China is taking more efforts to transform its economy to revolve around cleaner energy and transportation. The country is largely transitioning its cities away from coal power and more towards solar and wind energy.
Figueres said, “China has taken an undisputed leadership. The United States is actually playing catch-up to China.”
The United States and China together account for roughly 40% of the world’s carbon pollution. The two countries are currently working hard to reach a climate deal that could be announced at a climate change conference in Paris, which is less than a month away.
United States President Barack Obama has worked hard to fight against climate change during his time as President, but his efforts have often been spoiled by the firmly established energy industry and a largely Republican Congress. For instance, last week in Congress, Republicans blocked President Obama’s plan of cutting carbon pollution that comes from power plants.
As for the conference in Paris, almost 200 world countries will meet in order to try and achieve a global climate deal, as well as smaller deals between individual countries. Figueres has been strongly lobbying to have large countries make major emissions cuts.
These emissions cuts would help disadvantaged countries in dealing with the effects of climate change. As of now, it is often poorer, agricultural-based economies that are hurt the most from climate change.
Meanwhile, if climate change continues to grow in intensity, the world could experience catastrophic sea-level rises, an increase of extreme weather conditions and a larger number of major droughts and floods.
Currently, more than 150 countries worldwide have set individual goals to reduce their production of greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change.