China and Climate Policy

China and Climate Policy

China is now among the world’s leading polluters, casting a dark cloud across efforts to achieve a real climate change solution. Unless the administration and Congress hold China accountable for its reckless environmental practices, the damage to human health and global efforts to address climate change will be severe.

A 2009 AAM report focuses on China’s rapidly growing steel industry, and documents China’s ineffective enforcement of weak pollution-control standards, its failure to use adequate pollution-prevention measures and the resulting high levels of pollution. China derives great economic benefits from its failure to control pollution, giving it a significant advantage over its foreign competitors.

China’s low standards and lax enforcement mean that U.S. steel companies in recent years have had to spend 80 percent more than their Chinese counterparts per ton of steel—$8.83 vs. $4.85—on controlling air and water pollution alone. This results in yearly savings for China’s steel sector of more than $1.7 billion at 2006 production levels. Estimates suggest that Chinese steelmakers would have to triple or quadruple their capital expenditures to reduce emissions to U.S. levels.

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