Going to the Belly of the Climate Beast
For her first journey outside the U.S. as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy is trekking 7,000 miles around the planet to China.
It's the right first foreign trip to make. China (population: 1.3 billion) is the world's largest contributor to global warming today. Its greenhouse-gas emissions have increased 503 percent since 1980, surpassing in 2006 the United States (population: 314 million). China now accounts for one-quarter of global emissions that contribute to climate change.
Here's a silver lining. The growth rate of China's emissions in 2012—3.8 percent—was one of its smallest in the past decade, which reflects China's efforts to shift to cleaner sources of energy.
This climate beast is global, and next on McCarthy's list should be India, where much of its population (1.2 billion) lives in poverty without sufficient energy, and Japan, where carbon emissions are actually going up as it moves from carbon-free nuclear power to natural gas in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
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By Alex Brown (@AlexBrownNJ)
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