As a developing country, China is not obliged by current treaties to accept binding caps on its emissions. But, as its economy expands, the pressure is on to ensure this big polluter makes more of an effort to respect the environment.
Greenpeace China campaign leader Yang Ailun said: “It is not possible for the Chinese leaders to tell the Chinese population that we are not going to develop. I think what the government needs to tell the Chinese population is that we are going to develop in a different way – a truly low carbon, sustainable way.”
Part of the problem for the planet is China’s reliance on fossil fuels. Some 70 percent of all of its energy stems from coal plants.
“What is little known is the true cost of coal on the Chinese society, on human health, on the local environment,” Yang Ailun said.
The alarm has been raised over cancer-causing chemical compounds released from open stoves in poorly ventilated homes. Last month, China unveiled its first firm target to curb greenhouse gas emissions.