torsdag 10. oktober 2019

China's young climate heroes fight apathy – and the party line

One is a student engineer who became obsessed after watching an incendiary film about air pollution. The other is a 16-year-old who went on China’s first climate strike. Zhao Jiaxin and Howey Ou are part of a small but growing minority of young Chinese determined to press their country towards more radical carbon-cutting action. The pair are also China’s sole winners of carbon neutral “green tickets” the UN is providing to 100 young people around the world.

China is the world’s leading carbon emitter. It generates 60% of its electricity from coal-fired power and coal consumption and carbon emissions have risen for two years in a row after a plateau between 2014 and 2016. Emissions are expected to rise again in the figures for this year. Yet within the country, the positive half of the picture is more likely to be heard: how devoted the nation is to Xi Jinping’s goal of constructing an “ecological civilisation”, how China is a climate change leader compared with the US, and how much record-breaking renewable energy capacity it continues to install.