The U.S. and Europe have steadily reduced harmful greenhouse gas emissions over the last two decades, as a boost in renewable energy and a decline in dirty fossil fuel production have contributed to a sustainable downward trend. However, another major world player, China, has trended in the opposite direction, increasing greenhouse gas emissions to a point that is now higher than both the U.S. and Europe’s greenhouse gas contributions combined.
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In data collected by BP, China’s carbon dioxide emissions from burning fuel rose roughly 200 percent between 2000-2018 to roughly 9.4 billion tons. The country has now surpassed the combined emissions from the U.S. and Europe, which recorded nearly a 50-year low of 8.6 billion tons in 2018.
Bloomberg reports that China is considering a move to accelerate its emphasis on renewable energies in an effort to cut back as the current world’s largest polluter. China still leads the world in new coal plant production, but new proposals focused on clean energy would aim to slow down coal production over the next five years.
Renewable energy companies in China are taking the news well, with clean energy stocks soaring in recent days on speculation that Beijing’s National Energy Administration is serious about investing heavily in a renewable energy future.
This chart shows the amount of greenhouse gases produced by China and the U.S./Europe (in billion tons).
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