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China currently releases more carbon emissions than any other country — leading many to believe it bears the greatest responsibility for climate change. However, the situation is more complex than it seems. The accusations keep cropping up when it comes to the debate around climate change: “China is the biggest destroyer of the planet,” “China is the worst country in terms of pollution,” “China is to blame.” But what role does China actually play in climate change? Since 2008, China has topped the annual list of being the largest emitters of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that Oxford University contributes to. In 2019, China emitted 10.2 billion metric tons of CO2 — nearly twice as much as the United States (5.3 billion metric tons) — representing nearly 28% of global emissions.

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