Somewhat surprisingly for those of us who feel the effects of China's air pollution on a regular basis, China’s decision to take a long-term approach is positioning it to eventually be a world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Personally I remain skeptical, but the economics of scale is there.
But at a time of U.S. disengagement and European paralysis, China remains the world’s best hope for pursuing a more effective global climate policy in the long term. If China succeeds in implementing the main parts of its own industrial, energy and environmental policies over the next ten years, it will overtake both the U.S. and Europe in building an alternative energy economy. China’s rise to the top could be a game-changer. Once climate-friendly technologies are employed on a broad scale in China, their prices will drop and make them affordable and irresistible around the world.