The developing world is fast catching up to long-industrialised countries in levels of emissions, he said. If China continues on the same course without using more renewable resources, Chu noted, the “amount of carbon China emits in the next 30 years will equal all the carbon the US has emitted in the life of the country.”
Most scientists agree that even a slight increase in average temperatures caused by greenhouse-gas emissions will wreak havoc on farmers around the world. Seasons will shift, crops will fail and storms and droughts will ravage fields.
In a climate and energy bill yet to be approved by the US Senate, the United States has set itself targets to cut emissions by 83% by 2050 from 2005 levels. Chu urged developing countries to set similar targets.
“Unless they also say, 'We need to decrease our carbon emissions by mid-century,' then the world will be in big trouble,” he said. “What the US and China do in the coming decades will in a large part determine the fate of the world.” Chu suggested the two countries should work together on developing clean energy and fuel-efficient technology.
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