China will pass the United States as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world earlier than had been initially anticipated. Earlier forecasts predicted that this wouldn't happen until the year 2010, but China's rapid economic growth has had a direct effect on its emissions, as the country is burning coal at a prodigious rate. According to an International Energy Agency representative, the state of affairs is such that China's emissions levels are high enough that they'll likely counteract attempts by some other countries to reduce their own.

The hypocrisy of China's unenviable position is made even more clear when you recall that the country signed the Kyoto Protocol. Its standing as a Kyoto signatory affords it a sort of moral high ground (or at least the illusion of such), while it freely ignores those very terms in the name of its own economy, saying that to be held to the standards it saw fit to support would be "unfair."This is also called, "having your cake and eating it." Let's keep in mind that China's a nuclear power capable of developing (and showcasing, when it suits it) very modern cities like Shanghai. One could therefore surmise that the country has the technological means to make the advancements necessary to combat its rampant pollution. The more valid question is: Does it really have any desire to do so at all?

[Source: AP via Instapundit]

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