Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT: INTERNATIONAL -

China has be­come the world’s largest CO2 pol­luter, emit­ting close to 10bn met­ric tons of green­house gasses each year. The en­vi­ron­ment cri­sis is no longer a Chi­nese tragedy; it’s a global fi­asco.

“I hope the day will come when all you can see from Tianan­men Gate is a for­est of tall chim­neys belch­ing out clouds of smoke,” Mao Ze­dong said in 1949, as he gazed out at Tianan­men Square. Mao sub­scribed to a sim­ple im­age of hu­man­ity and na­ture and, as with ev­ery­thing in his life, he was ruth­less in putting it into prac­tice. Be­tween 1958 and 1961, he had mil­lions of small blast fur­naces built to press ahead The world may be wring­ing its hands and it may be dawn­ing on the lead­er­ship in pol­luted Bei­jing that it’s time to change things. But, ev­ery day, the black mon­ster out in the coun­try’s coal belt eats its way more deeply into a land­scape that, in In­ner Mon­go­lia, al­ready looks like the sur­face of the moon.

Bao Que, 27, drives his s 40-ton truck back and forth be­tween ween the Hainan open­cast mines s and the

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