The U.S. energy secretary says global warming is proceeding more quickly than
originally predicted. Stephen Chu is in China, the world's top emitter of the
greenhouse gases that cause global warming, to urge greater Sino-American
cooperation to combat the problem.
Energy Secretary Stephen Chu told an
overflow audience at Beijing's Tsinghua University that climate change is a
growing and urgent problem. He says an effective solution will require stronger
"It's for this reason that one should not be saying,
'well, the developed world has thrown out [emitted] all this carbon - you made
the problem, you fix it.' We all live in the same world," said Chu. "The
developed world did make the problem, I admit that. But the developing world is
going to make the problem much, much worse, and we're all in it together, so we
have to fix it together."
China and the United States are the world's top
two emitters of carbon dioxide, from burning coal and oil. Many scientists
believe carbon dioxide is one of the main reasons climate change is
"China and the US, together, now constitute 42 percent of
all the carbon dioxide emitted in the world today," he said. "And so, what the
United States does and what China does in the coming decade will actually, in
large part, determine the fate of the world."
The two governments on
Wednesday announced the creation of a joint research center to develop clean
Chu's lengthy speech ran past the allotted time for
questions from the students.
This 19-year-old physics freshman, surnamed
Kang, says he would have asked Chu whether the U.S. plans to share its latest
technology to combat climate change.
Kang says this is important
because the technological level in many countries still lags behind that of the
Technology is not the main issue for this 25-year-old
graduate student, surnamed Han, who is in Tsinghua's Built Environment
To her, it is a matter of changing personal habits and
attitudes. She points out that Chinese people, on average, use less energy than
Han says for example, Americans use clothes dryers and
dishwashers - all electric appliances. She says Chinese people like to hang
their clothes to naturally and wash their dishes by hand.
At the same
time, she says she is impressed with Chu, a Chinese-American Nobel Prize winner
whose parents both graduated from Tsinghua University. She says if the U.S. and
Chinese governments do cooperate to fight global warming, it can only be a good