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Economic news – Embassy 7 – April 2008

Consumer boom fuels China's pollution

China’s Ambassador to the UK has said the developed world needed to take more responsibility for emissions fuelled by consumers.

Speaking at a dinner debate hosted by the European Atlantic Group, Ambassador Fu Ying said that China might have overtaken the US as the world’s largest polluter in absolute terms, but that per capita emissions in China were far lower, at one fifth of US per capita emissions.

The Ambassador noted that the increase in China’s emissions coincided with a period when the country become “the world’s workshop”.

With 30% of China’s emissions produced by export commodities, the Ambassador reminded the audience that Western consumers’ hunger for cheap Chinese-made goods was also fuelling the rapid growth in emissions.

Ambassador Fu also outlined some of China’s National Programme on Climate Change, which includes a ban on plastic bags this June, the creation of ‘eco cities’, reforestation, as well as tax incentives to ensure more energy efficient production.

Fu said China would continue to rely on coal as its main source of energy but said it was keen to explore cleaner coal technologies as they become available.

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