Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 December 2021
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.