EU Climate Chief: China’s Middle Class Will Drive Environmental Progress

The European Union’s climate action commissioner expressed optimism for environmental progress in China, suggesting that pragmatism and middle-class pressure would drive policy. From the AFP:

[Connie] Hedegaard cited its latest five-year plan, which envisages major pilot projects to test market-based “cap and trade” emissions control systems.

“I believe China has realised there is a limit to how much it can grow its economy without taking into consideration energy considerations, environmental considerations, air pollution, water quality, things like that,” she said.

“In the end it’s also about social stability, because when China now has had some 400 million citizens entering the middle class, they also demand clean water and air their children can breathe, like others will do.”

Hedegaard said China had for the first time introduced a carbon target “because they can see that it’s necessary, but it’s very much because they can see it benefits their own economy” ….

“We (Europe) really believe that to pursue this green growth strategy is the way to create growth in the 21st century,” she said.