Over the last twenty years there has been a hot debate as to whether China should assist in the cost of global pollution. Countries around the world are all jumping on the band wagon to clean up the earth; each with the small or large part that they can play. China, on the other hand, has not been quite as reticent to join. The opinion of the Chinese government seems to have been that they shouldn’t have to pay to clean up a mess that they really didn’t participate in.

You might look at the logic that China presents as a formidable argument against participation in a global pollution problem. However, you also have to know that in 2006, China jumped ahead of the previous stats for the United States as the country with the highest emissions of carbon dioxide; the main gas responsible for global warming. At the same time, the U.S. emissions level decreased. Another key aspect to note is that while China did sign the Kyoto Protocol and the United States did not, they signed with the agreement that there was not a requirement for reduced emissions by developing nations.

The overall explosion of growth in China is unprecedented. As was predicted, the quantity of automobiles in China has increased almost exponentially, adding to the higher rate of pollution. Once the massive economic growth began to occur, China did not have anything in kind of regulatory process in place to coordinate or govern the problems that would follow. Air pollution introduced a demand for more industry and that created scenarios for other types of pollution such as water pollution. The few regulatory fines that are set in place are at such a low payment requirement that the offenders often do not have a problem paying fines.

There is a great level of concern expressed by the Chinese citizens themselves. There has been a thirty percent increase every year of complaints to the problem of pollution within their country, and the Chinese people are trying to turn to their government for answers and results. While it has been slow to respond, internally the government seems to be levying a more serious attitude even in their larger corporate offenders. A few large companies have actually been shut down because of extreme violations.

All of this adds up to the fact that China wasn’t ready for their own growth explosion which tumbled into a financial melt down in any clean up process. One might agree that China shouldn’t have to invest in a financial situation that occurred before their time, but they are in the middle of the quagmire now.

China is currently looking to and working with a number of industrial nations and learning from their past experiences. There is growing interest in China in the solar power industry as a major answer to the high demand for power. The role that China plays may add a benefit when they combine power with the United States in the development of technologies that will assist in the reduction of gases and resources that contribute to global warming. There are excellent potential advantages for the U.S. to work with China so that the two countries that are contributing the most pollutants can reduce the effect in joint ventures. Other recommendations for areas that China could work toward would be the pursuit of electric or alternative fuel vehicles. This would help to eliminate China’s dependency on oil and fossil fuels.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_China's_economic_responsibilities_for_climate_change_mitigation

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