Question: Will China's rise poison the planet?
Answer: Yes, unless urgent action is taken--by Beijing and Washington.
The data is depressing. Not only is China poised to overtake the United States as the world's leading source of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming; China's emissions growth will soon exceed that of the entire industrialized world combined.
China has set serious targets for clean energy and energy efficiency. But even if China meets those targets--which is doubtful--its greenhouse gas emissions will increase by a whopping 2.5 billion tons over the next five years. The Kyoto Protocol imposed 1.05 billion tons in reductions on the world's wealthest nations, including the US, which rejected the accord.
China must do more to combat global warming. And the US needs to adopt and embrace a carbon cap-and-trade system, or an emission permit trading system, or a carbon tax. Or all three--ASAP.