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8 - Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2021

Henry Lee
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Daniel P. Schrag
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Matthew Bunn
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Michael Davidson
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
Wei Peng
Affiliation:
Penn State University
Wang Pu
Affiliation:
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing
Mao Zhimin
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

If the world is going to decrease the rate of climate change, China, as the world’s largest emitter, must play a major role. Climate science tells us that to prevent the most catastrophic consequences, the world will ultimately have to reduce net emissions to zero. A reduction of this level over several decades will be unprecedented in world history; it took nearly seventy-five years after the invention of the steam engine for coal to surpass wood as the dominant source of energy in Europe and the United States. For a country such as China, with its enormous coal-dependent infrastructure, its large manufacturing base, and its rapid rate of urbanization, transitioning away from fossil fuels will be very challenging.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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