China and India get closer to climate goals

The report is great news in the global fight against climate change
air pollution climate goals Heavy smog, or air pollution, is common over the Chinese city of Shanghai. (© Piccaya | Dreamstime.com)


A new report made by Climate Action Tracker has really exciting environmental news. Thanks to new policies by their governments, China and India are now on target to meet the future climate goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. If you're concerned about climate change, this is really something else. China and India are two of the four biggest producers of carbon emissions on Earth.

A big agreement, a big challenge

When we talk about fighting climate change, there is nothing more important right now than the Paris Climate Agreement. It was signed in April 2016 by 195 countries (that is nearly every country on Earth). This international agreement is designed to get every nation to work together to lower their carbon emissions. And why?

Here's a quick primer. Carbon emissions (especially carbon dioxide, or CO2) are created by a number of human activities, including factories, burning fuel for energy, and exhaust produced by gas-powered vehicles. CO2 is a greenhouse gas—when it is left in our atmosphere, it traps heat from the Sun and raises the overall temperature of the planet.

And that extra CO2 affects the climate of the entire planet.

Down with emissions!

This last point is a big reason why environmental activists have wanted something like the Paris Climate Agreement for a long time. It is one thing to have your own country working to lower its emissions... but if other countries aren't making the same efforts, those actions can only do so much.

This is especially true when those "other countries" are China and India. These two countries have the two largest populations in the world (each have about 1 billion more people than the nearest country, the United States!). They are both also often listed as having some of the most polluted cities on Earth and producing some of the largest amounts of carbon emissions. (Officially, as of 2015, China was first in carbon emissions and India was fourth. The USA is second.)

Less coal, more renewable energy

Now, accordingly to Climate Action Tracker, China and India are working to turn the tide. Both nations look on target to reduce their emissions by two to three billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030. In case you're wondering, yes, that is remarkable!

How has this happened? Both China and India started 2017 by announcing a reduction in planned and current coal-burning factories. In addition, both countries are looking seriously at using renewable energy, such as public electric vehicles and transit, and even banning gas-powered vehicles in some cases.

Of course, these are just estimations of what will happen by 2030. There is no absolute guarantee that both nations will follow through. But if these massive countries can find a way to make such changes, it brings a lot of hope that the Paris Agreement will meet its important climate goals.

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