Caitlin Gallagher
December 19, 2017 1:32 pm
Tao Zhang/Getty Images

One day after Donald Trump removed climate change from the list of national security threats, China announced a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. While The New York Times noted that it’s an ambitious plan — since China will create a market that trades credits for the right to release these climate change-impacting gases  — it’s also a step forward for the world’s top polluter. The most-populated country in the world causes the most air pollution, but China is far from alone when it comes to polluting the Earth.

As The New York Times wrote in its article about China’s new climate change plan:

However, the U.S. shouldn’t be gloating because, as Reuters reported, the Global Carbon Project ranked the world’s worst nations for pollution based on carbon dioxide emissions — and the U.S. was number two after China. As of June 2017, here are the top 10 worst nations when it comes to pollution:

1. China

2. United States

3. India

4. Russia

5. Japan

6. Germany

7. Iran

8. Saudi Arabia

9. South Korea

10. Canada

As The New York Times explained in a June 2017 article, China became the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases 10 years ago. Before then, it was the United States. And as the U.S. has been burning coal, oil, and natural gas for much longer than China, the U.S. is historically the worst nation when it comes to emissions.

It’s a problem that Donald Trump plans to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate accord not just because the U.S. is a world leader but also because the U.S. needs to be taking responsibility for its major role in causing climate change. It’s devastating that the president never grasped the idea of climate change, since he tweeted that it was a hoax created by the Chinese in 2012…

…and, as previously mentioned, just removed climate change from the list of national security threats on December 18th, 2017.

Although the U.S. might not be the #1 emitter of carbon dioxide in 2017, this nation has arguably affected our environment (perhaps more than any other nation on planet Earth). Our leadership should understand how that negatively impacts not just America, but all of the world — and should be attempting to do all they can to make the Earth a healthier and more habitable place for generations to come.

So while China may be the worst when it comes to emissions in 2017, at least the nation is coming up with innovative plans for change. That’s more than you can say for the U.S. — the world’s second worst polluter — right now.

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