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November 9, 2015

Is China Serious About Addressing Climate Change?

Next month, world leaders will meet in Paris to discuss a global climate change agreement. The Metals Service Center Institute has consistently argued that the United States should not enter into any agreement that does not require the world’s largest polluters, including China and India, to take drastic steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Without this commitment, overall global pollution will continue to rise and U.S. industries will be put a competitive disadvantage. 

This commitment is especially important given the news, reported last week, that the Chinese government has been vastly understating key data on coal production. According to The New York Times, China has burned 17 percent more coal every year than previously reported. As The Times explained, “Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense” and “the sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide – almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations – than previously estimated.” 

The Times also reported last week that just 18 percent of Chinese residents think global climate change is a significant issue. 

China is the world’s top polluter; any agreement that does not require the country to take strong action to reduce its emissions will do little to improve the global environment while imposing significant costs on the U.S. and Canadian manufacturing and metals industries.