Sustainable growth is good business

Updated: 2014-04-22 07:21


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As the world's biggest single emitter of greenhouse gases - accounting for 29 percent of global emissions - China is crucial to the global fight against climate change. China is still a developing economy, but it is also a leading economy. Its carbon dioxide emissions per capita are now higher than those of France or Spain, and it has reached EU levels overall. And with greater levels of development and economic strength also comes greater responsibility.

Sustainable growth is good business

Sustainable growth is good business

As we have shifted up a gear on the road to a global climate agreement in Paris next year, we need China's cooperation to seal a deal in Paris. What China does will have a major impact on the final outcome.

The EU is doing its fair share. But we cannot tackle climate change alone. This is no longer possible in the reality of the 21st century, where emerging economies account for the biggest growth, also in energy consumption and emissions. We are at a point where all countries must act, in line with their respective capabilities and responsibilities.

China and the EU can prove to the world that green growth is not just a vague utopian vision. It is the smart answer to many of the challenges the world is facing: more intelligent ways of producing, smarter cities with cleaner air and less pollution, less noise and less congestion, energy efficient homes, lower energy bills and cleaner sources of energy.

By leading the way, we can motivate others to move to more ambitious climate action.

No one wants China or any other country to stop growing. On the contrary, green growth is about maintaining and improving our quality of life while ensuring pollution does not undermine economic growth. This is good business.

The author is European commissioner for climate action. The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.


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