The article originally appeared on India Today.

Global Times, one of the mouthpieces of China’s People’s Daily, the official newspaper and mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist party, has once again come up with a report appealing that India and China should work together to fight the climate change, especially after the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.

The report says, “US President-elect Donald Trump said earlier in 2016 that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax” and has suggested that he is disinclined to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement. In light of this, China and India should play a much stronger leading role in the international effort against climate change.”

The report that focuses on the intense fog in Delhi and northern India and likens it to Chinese pollution and Beijing’s smog alerts, says that both, India and China, are the world’s top polluters and it is “meaningless to debate whose air quality is better”.

China is the world’s largest polluter and India ranks at number three behind America in emitting the greenhouse gases contributing to the global warming. In the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 10 are in India and four in China.

So, that makes sense, even if India and China differ on many issues and even if this official mouthpiece, Global Times, regularly comes up with articles and opinions suggesting why India should not be given the NSG membership or why India’s efforts towards a permanent membership of the UN Security Council are futile or why India should control anti-China content in its media or how the Chinese goods are being victimised by boycott calls in India.

Because climate change and the subsequent global warming will affect all, irrespective of who is the biggest culprit, America, the world’s most industrialised nation whose per capita emission at 19.86 tons is almost eight times to that of India’s 2.44 tons, or China, the largest emitter currently with over 25 per cent share of global emission while India is still at 7 per cent. Even China’s per capita emission is more than three times of India’s as per the figures of the World Resources Institute (WRI).

And because now there is a very real possibility that the world’s second largest emitter can walk away the landmark agreement. Donald Trump, during the campaign phase, had said in unequivocal terms that if elected, he would withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, adopted in December 2015 and came into effect the last month. Though, after his election, he had said in an interview that he had now an open mind about the Paris Climate Agreement, his stand is still viewed as being non-committal on the agreement that many believe is humanity’s last chance before environmental destruction becomes irreversible.

Most emitters in the top-10 list are advanced societies with less population like the US, Japan, Russia and the EU countries. They have technological superiority in the environmental protection techniques and can afford them, certainly a problem area when it comes to India and China, the world’s two economies in top three with over 36 per cent share of the world’s population. According to an estimate, 70 per cent of sewage generated by urban India goes untreated and advanced waste water treatment technologies are prohibitively expensive for the developing economies.

The Global Times report recognises this saying “China and India should encourage scientific institutions, environmental groups and firms to cooperate on research to develop environmentally friendly techniques that are tailored for both countries”.

Here are two burgeoning economies, buzzing with manufacturing, construction and energy industries, catering to an ever increasing demand of masses, and now they have to retain their emission levels and control pollution. And a collaboration in this area can show the way ahead like the “clean energy vehicle technologies and electric cars” as this article proposes. We all know that the vehicular pollution is the biggest contributor to the deadly smog that every now and then blankets our cities.


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