China emits most greenhouse gases, but best at fighting climate change – UN chief

14 Jan 2014

China may be the country that emits the most greenhouse gases, but it’s also the country that’s properly tackling global warming, the United Nation’s chief climate official said.

China’s air pollution is largely down to burning coal and its citizens are increasing pressure on the country to make the air cleaner.

A reduction in air pollution may well happen, if China’s previous efforts to tackle climate change are any indication: the country has some of the toughest energy-efficiency standards for buildings and transportation, and its support for photovoltaic technology helped slash the cost of solar panels by 80pc since 2008, Bloomberg reported Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as having said.

What this comes down to, according to Figueres, is China’s realisation that efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable power will pay off in the long run.

“They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” Bloomberg quoted Figueres as having said. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”

China smog image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic