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Obama: Because of China and India we could be underwater

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Staff writer ▼ | January 22, 2014
President Barack Obama has warned that "we'll be four feet underwater" if China and India end up consuming energy like the USA.
Barack Obama
Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama has warned that "we'll be four feet underwater" if China and India end up consuming energy like the USA.


The U.S. President's remarks at a Democrat fundraiser in Seattle reflect concerns that the world's top emerging economies hold the key to preventing dangerous levels of climate change. Scientists say that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar, warming temperatures around the world could lead to melting ice-caps at the north and south poles, resulting in sea levels rising 26-82cm by 2100.

Despite its relatively late industrialisation, China's emission levels have rapidly caught up with the rest of the world. It's now second in the all-time carbon pollution list behind the USA.

Fellow developing giants Brazil, Indonesia and India also make the top 10, which includes the UK, France and Germany. Last year the US and China signed a pact to cooperate on cutting harmful emissions from power plants and vehicles, but it is unlikely this will have any immediate effects.

The New Yorker's David Remnick, who was given access to Obama in late 2013, reports the President is sympathetic to the desire of China and India to lift millions out of poverty, but keen to stress the urgency of climate action to his supporters.

The Chinese government is under severe pressure from its own citizens due to regular toxic smogs that blanket major cities as a result of power generation and exhaust fumes. Some reports from Beijing suggested authorities had erected a giant TV screen so residents starved of natural daylight could watch the sun rising and setting.


 

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