Gray Smog Conceals a Greening China

Green innovator gets unfair rap as environmental offender
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Nov 11, 2008 4:26 PM CST
A Chinese tricycle passes by plastic bags littered among other trash at a market in Beijing. China has banned free plastic bags since this photo was taken.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
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(Newser) – The world's attitude toward China's environmentalism is "hypocritical and decidedly unfair," writes Fred Pearce in Yale Environment 360—this coming from someone who has "literally held my nose at the foul air." Yes, China's "development zeal" has it doing "the bad things that most of the world does," but it's also the world's leader in green innovation, waste recycling, and alternative energy sources.

The nation famed for black rivers and uninhibited industrial growth is going green "out of necessity," Pearce says. China is "so desperate for raw materials" it "finds uses for almost any waste it can get its hands on." And let's not forget that the people of the world's most populous country "don’t have lesser rights because there are so many of them." Its carbon footprint may be the largest, "but its per-capita emissions are only a quarter those of the US."