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Surprising Science

China Out-Greening the U.S.

China is moving more rapidly on renewable technologies and pushing ahead on emissions trading, while American initiatives are stuck in Congressional quicksand.

What’s the Big Idea?

China is out-pacing the U.S. in responding to climate change, particularly on renewable technologies. However, corruption, imprecision and inexperience are major hurdles that it has yet to overcome in establishing a cap-and-trade scheme. And, as in the US, China will rely on fossil fuels for many decades yet.

What’s the Latest Development?

China is both desperate and ambitious enough to try almost anything. Perhaps that’s why, most surprisingly, the Communist government is showing a greater willingness to adopt market-based approaches that were once considered preferable only by capitalist economies. Mandatory emissions trading systems will be rolled out in six regions by 2013 and the government has promised to ramp up the use of carbon-based financial instruments to a nationwide level by 2015.


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