The Rise Of Pollution Levels

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There I was in Shanghai, China, staring at the sun as if I were trying to look at a lamp behind a curtain. The rise of pollution levels in China has intrigued the minds of people who never even cared about the environment before. The People’s Republic of China is now the largest emitter of CO2 in the world. But of course, this a global phenomenon: a global phenomenon that in no way started with China as Alanna Mitchell would agree to. By the end of the 19th century, the powerful duo that was industrialization and imperialism spread industrial growth from Great Britain to Southeast Asia. From the opium wars in the mid 19th century to the economic reforms of 1970s, China has been incorporated into the global economy as the world’s manufacturer. And as we know, modern manufacturing is heavily reliant on fossil fuels. This has put an immense amount of international pressure on the Chinese to improve their environmental footprint. But sustainable development needs to start not just with China, but with all major players in the global economy. Mitchell’s statement, “the idea that the planet’s future might come down to China’s choices is hard for the West to fathom”(102) is not only ironic, but a dangerous idea to accept. An historical context of China’s industrialization and urbanization will show you that Western interests in China led to its massive carbon emission. Further, the root of the problem must be solved the way it started, with help from the West.
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