As little as 10 years ago, China's portion of global carbon pollution was considerably less than Uncle Sam's. Additionally, China's per capita carbon pollution was about just 10% of US per capita emissions. And so many folks excused China and its carbon pollution. Some still do.
Times, however, have changed and quickly. In 2012, China accounted for about 32% of the total global carbon emissions or twice the total of the USA. Moreover, Chinese per capita emissions are now up to about 50% of a typical American.
Chinese carbon emissions remain a runaway locomotive fueled by coal, while US emissions have been declining significantly since 2005. Writing in the New York Times, Elizabeth Muller calculates that even Chinese per capita carbon emissions will exceed those of Americans by 2020. Remarkable!
By 2020, China will emit approximately 4 times more carbon pollution than the USA, and its portion of global emissions could be close to 40%. The time for excusing Chinese carbon emissions is over!