China overtakes United States as world’s biggest polluter, agency says

The United States is no longer the world’s biggest polluter. That honor goes to China, which emitted some 8 percent more carbon dioxide in 2006 than Bushland, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. But on a per-person basis, Americans pollute roughly four to five times more than folks in China. And while the emissions surge is tied to a booming industrial landscape — China opens the equivalent of two coal-fired power plants each week — that growth is spurred in part by Western consumers buying goods made in China, and by outsourced manufacturing. So: still your fault. While China’s leaders work on a climate plan, observers say residents are more worried about their immediate environs: “Most people in China are either unaware of or uninterested in climate change,” says Zou Ji of Renmin University. “When we become richer and richer, and feel safer and safer, then people will have more time and more resources to pay attention to something not directly linked to themselves.”