Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

China Continues to Face Serious Environmental Issues

September 30, 2021

China is by far the world’s largest emitter of heat-trapping gases

China is the world’s leading emitter, accounting for over a quarter of all annual greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. It promised to comply with the Paris Agreement by reducing emissions, reducing coal consumption, and investing in renewable energy. However, its Belt and Road Initiative continues to fund coal-fired power facilities in other countries. Air pollution, water scarcity, and soil contamination continue to pose a threat to China’s citizens’ health and livelihoods, fueling public unhappiness with the government.

China’s environmental disaster, the product of decades of fast industrialization, jeopardises not only the country’s 1.4 billion people’s health and livelihoods, but also the worldwide struggle against climate change. China suffers from infamously poor air pollution as the world’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Additional environmental issues have arisen as a result of its carbon-intensive industry, such as water scarcity and soil contamination. In the future decades, China, like the rest of the globe, will be hit worse by the effects of climate change, including flooding and droughts.

Beijing has responded by enacting regulations to reduce emissions and prevent additional degradation, such as signing the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and pledging to be carbon neutral by 2060. Experts argue that carrying out the plan will be difficult, given the government’s difficulties to maintain economic growth, alleviate public discontent, and resolve relations with the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter. China’s rapid economic growth—the country’s GDP has increased by 10% annually on average for more than a decade—has resulted in a significant increase in emissions.

Coal is substantially to fault, as it accounts for about two-thirds of China’s energy consumption. The country is the world’s greatest coal producer, producing over half of all coal consumed worldwide. According to Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, China installed roughly three times more new coal-power capacity in 2020 than the rest of the world combined.