Undergraduate Research in Agricultural Economics


Date of this Version

June 2008


China has recently become the world’s greatest greenhouse gas emitter, surpassing the United States. The unprecedented growth of the economy and population surpassed all expectations. Coal is the cheapest and most abundant source of energy for this expansion. Also, worries of energy dependence complicate the matters. The effects of global warming can be seen throughout the countryside. Although it does not currently have any mandatory emission regulations, China has put forth many initiatives to reverse this trend. More efficient technology is in development, such as advanced coal uses. Other sources of energy like hydroelectric, solar, wind, bio, and nuclear are starting to become more dominant in the energy markets. However, all are still relatively more expensive to coal. Without incentives to switch, industries will continue to use the cheaper source of energy. With regards to international policy, China is a participating member of the Kyoto Protocol, although due to its developing nation status, the only requirement is to report emissions. Without China’s cooperation, it could potentially nullify the benefits of the industrialized countries reducing their emissions. China thinks Kyoto will hurt their economy, and that the majority of global warming is due to Western developed countries. The debate now is how to include China and other developing countries without hurting their growth when Kyoto expires in 2012.