Three of World’s Largest Polluters Agree to New Climate Change Measures
Three of the leading contributors to pollution, the United States, Brazil, and China, announced this week that they were making meaningful progress toward an agreement to be reached in Paris later this year.
Together, China and the United States make up a substantial portion of the world’s population. Brazil’s booming economy means that it, too, will be in the ranks of leading polluters one day in the visible future.
China has the most ambitious plan of the three, aiming to reduce carbon density levels (the level of carbon emitted per capita) by up to 66% in 2030 from 2005 levels. The US has a shorter-term plan to lower emission rates by nearly 30% in 2020.
In either case, the future will benefit from investment in sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, a costly experiment in human history. Doing so will not be inexpensive, as incumbent technologies will always have the upper hand in terms of cost effectiveness. However, it will mean a longer future into which humans can safely produce.
During a meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Barack Obama and Rousseff agreed that climate change is a top priority of the two countries. China made a separate announcement with its plans after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with French President Francois Hollande.
In December, a large summit of the United Nations is set to make some far-reaching resolutions regarding climate change, and these three industrial powers are looking to position themselves as leaders in the fight for positive progress. By achieving such a perception in the run-up to the summit, they could potentially ingratiate themselves and get more sway in the decisions that are reached there.
Green technology is a fast-developing market, with governments and private corporations pouring billions into it every year. Recently, Hyundai announced that eco-friendly cars are a profitable market to enter, cutting fossil fuels out of the picture altogether, while Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors is experiencing unprecedented sales and expansion for an electric car manufacturer. Applied at a broader scale, on an industrial level, and the profits could be limitless. Even energy companies are looking into joining the green technology market, with Shell Oil funding initiative after initiative.
The goal of the December summit, in the eyes of most environmentalists, is a global agreement to reduce emissions on all continents by significant levels in the nearer-to-hand future.
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