China and United States plan to “go green”



Photo courtesy of Reuters.

Julian Piwowar, Contributing Writer

Since 2012, China has been the world’s number one carbon emitter, making up more than 25 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Previously, China had  refused to lower its carbon emissions because its main priority was to industrialize its economy; this is why it came as a surprise when President Xi Jinping announced on Nov. 12  that China would set a limit for its carbon emissions for 2030. In addition, both the United States and China  have agreed to work together to reduce the effects of climate change.

In his announcement, Jinping stated that  20 percent of the country’s energy will be provided by renewable resources. However, that means that China will still continue to produce more than 80 percent of its current carbon emissions until 2030.

Science teacher  Kristen Newby believes that China’s plan is a step forward for the environment.

“Any reduction in carbon emissions from this point forward is a positive plan,” Newby

said. “Although damage from past and current emissions cannot be reversed, it is never too late to go green.”

Freshman  Arthur Szacik is concerned about the logistics of the agreement.

“It will take a lot of resources, money and workers to fulfill this plan, so I do not believe

that it will work out well,” Szacik said.

On the other hand, there are concerns whether or not the United States and China are going to respect or uphold their agreement.

“The Chinese plan is vague and has plenty of areas to criticize; such as how the dates for completion of this project are ‘around 2030’ and that the country ‘intends’ to reduce non-renewable energy usage by 20 percent,” Newby said. “But the U.S. has proven to be equally vague in our planning towards a more environmentally friendly future as well, ‘intending’ to reduce our emissions by 2025.”

As of 2014, the United States had the largest economy in the world, with China being a close second. Some people believe that this agreement could be a devastating blow to both country’s economies.

Szacik acknowledges the possible economic implications of the plan.

“If both countries were to emphasize more property rights, we could encourage private investors to invest in their own green technology, invest in their own business, invest in their own research, rather than using taxpayers money to develop technology that we don’t even know will work,” Szacik said.

Sophomore John-Luc Pec sees the situation otherwise.

“I don’t believe that this will have a very large impact on either country’s economies due  to the fact that not very much will be going on collectively,” Pec said.

In the end Newby still believes that it is never too late to make any change towards a sustainable future, no matter how small.

“China, one of the largest offenders of global pollution, has finally gotten on board to make changes to limit the burning of fossil fuels,” Newby said. “That is a very big push in the right direction for our planet.”