In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
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While Texans were burning their furniture and children's toys for warmth, other wider-ranging impacts of the energy crisis precipitated by Arctic temperatures across the U.S. will be felt for years.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By John Rogers
The Polar Vortex hitting much of the US has wreaked havoc not just on roadways and airports, but also on our electricity systems, as plenty are experiencing first-hand right now. Households, institutions, and communities across the region — and friends and family members — have been hit by power outages, and all that comes with them.
1. Restoring power (safely) is Job 1.<p>First: Some things about all this we won't know until we have the benefit of a few days — or months — of hindsight, and data. But one thing we do know right now is that electricity, which we so often take for granted, is crucial to so many aspects of our lives.</p><p>For some, power outages are an inconvenience. For others, they're <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/julie-mcnamara/hurricane-irma-power-outage" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">life-threatening</a>. So keeping the power flowing, or getting it back up as quickly as possible, is key. Grid operators need to avoid affecting vulnerable populations and critical infrastructure as much as possible when they're implementing rolling blackouts, and need to prioritize them when they're restoring service.</p><p>While all confronting power outages or near misses are indebted to those working around the clock to keep things from getting worse, keeping crews safe is also key. Weather like this, combined with the ongoing pandemic, sure doesn't make for the easiest working conditions, so utilities and grid operators will need to use really solid judgement about where they can safely focus people, and when, for any needed repairs.</p>
2. The power outages are about both supply and demand.<p>Utilities and grid operators have been hit by the double whammies of unprecedented demand and big challenges on the supply side. On the demand side, for example, Texas on Valentine's Day <a href="https://twitter.com/ERCOT_ISO/status/1361142665140711427" target="_blank">shattered</a> its previous winter peak record by almost 5%. The peak was 11,000 MW above what ERCOT, Texas's electric grid operator, was projecting and planning for as of November — some 15-20 good-sized power plants' worth.</p><p>And on the supply side, power lines taken out by the weather are a piece of it, as you'd expect. But it also turns out that all kinds of power plants have gone offline, for a range of reasons. Take natural gas, for example:</p>
3. Natural gas plants have been hit hard.<p>Gas plants suffer from their own supply-and-demand issues. One piece of it is the fact that the same gas that supplies them is also needed for heating homes and businesses. And if a power plant doesn't have firm contracts to get gas when it needs it, the way gas utilities would, the power plant loses out. The laws of physics may also be coming into play, as any moisture in the gas lines succumbs to the extreme cold and gums up the works—valves, for instance.</p><p>And indeed, initial indications are that a lot of the lost capacity is natural gas-fired. Data from Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the grid operator for much of the Great Plains, <a href="https://marketplace.spp.org/pages/capacity-of-generation-on-outage#%2F2021%2F02" target="_blank">show</a> that 70% of its "outaged" megawatts (MW) were natural gas plants.</p><p>ERCOT, which is powered primarily by natural gas and wind, was <a href="http://www.ercot.com/news/releases/show/225210" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">warning</a> yesterday that "Extreme weather conditions caused many generating units — across fuel types — to trip offline and become unavailable." It <a href="https://twitter.com/Sonalcpatel/status/1361365934204674053" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">clarified</a> elsewhere, though, that the majority of the capacity it had lost overnight was "thermal generators, like generation fueled by gas, coal, or nuclear". In all, Texas was out <a href="https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Wholesale-power-prices-spiking-across-Texas-15951684.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">more than a third</a> of its total capacity.</p>
4. Don’t think an “all of the above” strategy would have saved the day.<p>As ERCOT's messages suggests, this isn't just a gas issue, and these last few days should in no way be fodder for the type of fact-free "all of the above" pushes <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/jeremy-richardson/rick-perry-rejects-facts-in-favor-of-coal-and-nuclear-bailouts" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">favored</a> by the prior administration.</p><p>For example, many power plants, including all nuclear plants, virtually all coal plants, and a lot of natural gas plants, depend on <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/water-power-plant-cooling" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">water to cool the steam</a> that drives the electricity-producing turbines. Any power plant dependent on cooling water will run into trouble if that cooling water is actually frozen solid. And they can have their own troubles with fuel availability during extreme cold.</p><p>(While we're on the subject of fossil fuels: Note that the extreme weather has also <a href="https://www.eenews.net/energywire/2021/02/16/stories/1063725119" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hit oil production</a>, with the Permian basin, for example, down an estimated 1 million barrels a day.)</p>
5. Wind turbines can be winterized (but Texas…?).<p>Wind turbines aren't immune to extreme cold, and initial reports show that they, too, have been hit by this wave. In SPP, wind was the <a href="https://spp.org/newsroom/press-releases/spp-becomes-first-regional-grid-operator-with-wind-as-no-1-annual-fuel-source-considers-electric-storage-participation-in-markets-approves-2021-transmission-plan/" target="_blank">#1 source</a> of electricity last year, and initial data from yesterday suggested it accounted for almost a fifth of the capacity taken offline.</p><p>ERCOT also mentions wind turbines going offline; one source <a href="https://twitter.com/Sonalcpatel/status/1361357248988143620" target="_blank">suggests</a> 4,000 MW of wind was offline yesterday morning, compared with 26,000 MW of downed thermal capacity (mostly gas). Wind is ERCOT's second-largest supplier of power, accounting for 23% of its electricity last year (from a nation-leading <a href="https://cleanpower.org/resources/american-clean-power-market-report-q4-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">33,000 MW</a>).</p><p>But wind farms going offline appears to be a <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/frozen-wind-farms-just-small-002954294.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">much smaller piece</a> of the picture than detractors will suggest. And wind power has played an important role in keeping the lights on in past extreme cold events (remember the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wind-power-bomb-cyclone-2554824592.html" target="_self">Bomb Cyclone</a>?). They can also be at least partially winter-proofed — by hardening the control systems, using the right fluids, and de-icing the blades. But if you don't see weather like this coming…</p>
6. We need to be ready for more extreme weather.<p>And that's one of the lessons to learn from this episode, once we get beyond the immediacy of it all: Past performance is no indication of what's going to be coming at us. We know that climate change is bringing not just overall warming, but also <a href="https://ucsusa.org/resources/does-cold-weather-disprove-climate-change" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">more extremes at <em>both</em> ends</a>. We also know that there are all kinds of ways that <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/power-failure" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">climate change affects our ability to keep the lights on</a>.</p><p>So we need to be ready, or readier, for situations like this. And it turns out that there are <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/julie-mcnamara/noreaster-power-grid" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a lot of ways</a> we can be. Stronger transmission links can <a href="https://mailchi.mp/acore/acore-statement-on-heartland-power-outages?e=a4ae549508" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">allow regions to back each other up</a> when they aren't all facing the same challenges at the same time. A diversity of (clean) power options can mean some might be available even when others aren't. (ERCOT anticipated yesterday morning being able to reconnect customers later that day in part because of "additional wind & solar output".)</p><p>We also <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/julie-mcnamara/one-way-to-boost-renewables-let-flexible-demand-lend-a-helping-hand" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">don't have to take electricity demand</a> as a fixed, can't-do-anything-about-it quantity. Utilities (including mine, a few days ago) called on customers to <a href="http://www.ercot.com/news/releases/show/225151" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">be as efficient as possible</a> to get us past the latest crunches. Programs put in place ahead of time can reward customers for delaying or shifting their electricity use.</p><p>And energy storage can be an important middleperson between supply and demand, from the large scale all the way down to battery packs in our garages and basements.</p>
Getting through this, and beyond<p>Right now, the task is getting the power back on. Longer term, the goal shouldn't be about ensuring 100% reliability (because of the prohibitive cost of removing that last fraction of a fraction of a possibility of a blackout), but to make them as infrequent and as limited in duration as possible. It should, though, be about making sure we make <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/lights-out" target="_blank">decisions</a> that serve us well in the short term and, in the face of climate change, in the long term.</p><p>Blackouts will happen; that doesn't mean we're powerless against them. The need is there, but so are the tools.</p><p><em><a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/author/john-rogers" target="_blank">John Rogers</a> is a senior energy analyst with expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and policies.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from the <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/john-rogers/polar-vortex-power-outages-6-things-to-know-about-supply-demand-and-our-electricity-future" target="_blank">Union of Concerned Scientists</a>. </em></p>
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Nearly 5 million electricity customers across the United States lost power over the weekend as extreme weather, including frigid temperatures and ice storms, drove up demand and shut down electricity generation.
By Nick Cunningham
The decade-long fracking boom in Appalachia has not led to significant job growth, and despite the region's extraordinary levels of natural gas production, the industry's promise of prosperity has "turned into almost nothing," according to a new report.
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By Erin Brock Carlson and Martina Angela Caretta
More than 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines run throughout the United States. In Appalachia, they spread like spaghetti across the region.
A map shows U.S. pipelines carrying natural gas and hazardous liquids in 2018. More construction has been underway since then. GAO and U.S. Department of Transportation
Pipeline construction cuts through a farmer's field. Erin Brock Carlson, CC BY-SA
Oil spills are a major concern among land owners. Erin Brock Carlson, CC BY-SA
By Jon Queally
Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.
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By Kenneth McLeod
To curb climate change, many experts have called for a massive shift from fossil fuels to electricity. The goal is to electrify processes like heating homes and powering cars, and then generate the increased electrical power needs using low- or zero-carbon sources like wind, solar and hydropower.
More than 30 cities in California, including Berkeley and San Francisco, have moved in this direction by banning natural gas service in most new buildings. Currently energy use in buildings generates over 40% of San Francisco's greenhouse gas emissions.
There are straightforward electric options for heating buildings and hot water and drying clothes, but going electric could be more controversial in the kitchen. Traditional electric stoves are notoriously slow to heat up and cool down. They also pose safety issues because their heating coils can stay hot for tens of minutes after they are shut off.
What is a serious cook to do? One high-tech alternative is magnetic induction. This technology was first proposed over 100 years ago and demonstrated at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Today magnetic induction stoves and cooktops are common in Europe and Asia, but remain a niche technology in the U.S. As more cities and states move toward electrification, here's a look at how magnetic induction works and its pros and cons for cooking.
Heating Without a Flame
I am an electrical engineer specializing in electromagnetic field research. Much of my work focuses on medical therapy applications – but whether you are exposing human tissue or a pan on a cooktop to electromagnetic fields, the principles are the same.
To understand what electromagnetic fields are, the key principle is that an electric charge creates a field around it – essentially, a force that extends in all directions. Think of static electricity, which is an electric charge often produced by friction. If you rub a balloon on your hair, the friction will charge the balloon with static electric charge; then when you lift the balloon away from your head your hair will rise, even if the balloon isn't touching it. The balloon is pulling on your hair with an attractive electric force.
Moving electric charges, like electricity flowing through wire, produce magnetic fields – zones of magnetic force around the current's path. The earth has a magnetic field because electric currents are flowing in its molten core.
Magnetic fields can also produce electric fields and this is why we use the term electromagnetic fields. This concept was discovered in the 1830s by English scientist Michael Faraday, who showed that if an electrically conductive material, such as a wire, is placed in a moving magnetic field, an electric field is created in the conductor. We call this magnetic induction. If the conductor is formed into a loop, an electric current will flow around the loop.
Faraday's discovery formed the basis for the development of electric motors. His work also demonstrated a way to heat materials without using a traditional heat source such as fire.
Last week, both @CityofSanJose and @Oakland approved measures to ban natural gas in newly constructed buildings, co… https://t.co/qiBhhtpcyw— The Climate Mayors (@The Climate Mayors)1607724000.0
Where Does the Heat Come From?
All materials have resistance, which means that when electric current flows through them, the flow will be hindered at least somewhat. This resistance causes some of the electric energy to be lost: The energy turns into heat, and as a result the conductor warms up. In my biomedical research we investigate using radio frequency magnetic fields to heat up tissues in the body to help the tissue heal.
Instead of conventional burners, the cooking spots on induction cooktops are called hobs, and consist of wire coils embedded in the cooktop's surface. For maximum efficiency, engineers want as much as possible of the magnetic field energy produced by each hob to be absorbed by the cookware sitting on it. The magnetic field will create an electric field in the bottom of the cookware, and because of resistance the pan will heat up, even though the hob does not.
For the best performance, magnetic induction stoves and cooktops need to operate at a high magnetic field frequency – typically, 24KHz. They also require pots made from materials that magnetic fields do not readily pass through. Metals with high iron or nickel content absorb magnetic fields, so they are the most efficient options for induction cooking. Iron absorbs magnetic fields more readily than nickel and is far less expensive, so iron-based materials are most commonly used for magnetic induction cookware.
More Responsive and Safer, But More Expensive
Since induction cooktops require something to absorb magnetic fields in order to produce heat, they are intrinsically safer than a traditional electric cooktop. Placing your hand on the hob will not heat up your hand to any noticeable extent. And since these systems heat cookware without directly heating the hob, the hobs cool quickly after the cookware is removed, which reduces the risk of burns.
The cookware itself tends to warm up and cool down quickly, and temperature control is very accurate – one of the key properties that cooks value in gas stoves. Another plus is that induction cooktops commonly have smooth surfaces – often glass or ceramic – so they are easy to clean.
Modern induction cooktops are as energy-efficient as traditional electric stoves and about twice as efficient as gas stoves. But this does not necessarily mean they are less expensive to operate. In many parts of the U.S. natural gas is far cheaper than electricity, sometimes by a factor of three or four. This partly explains broader acceptance of induction cooktops in Europe, where until recently natural gas was much more expensive than electricity.
Another factor that has influenced adoption is that induction stoves and cooktops typically cost more than traditional gas or electric stoves, although not substantially so. And cooks will have to replace aluminum, copper, nonmagnetic stainless steel and ceramic pots, none of which work effectively on induction cooktops. One quick check is that if a magnet sticks to the bottom of a pot, the pot will work on an induction cooktop.
Despite these factors, I expect that natural gas use reduction ordinances will lead to greatly expanded use of magnetic induction stoves and cooktops. These measures typically focus on newly constructed buildings, so they will not require expensive conversions of existing homes.
Young singles and families who move into these new residences may not yet have acquired a lot of cookware, and are likely to appreciate the safety associated with magnetic induction, especially if they have children. And early adopters who are willing to pay more for electricity from green sources, or for a hybrid or electric car, may not be upset about paying a few hundred dollars more for a magnetic induction cooktop and pans that work with it.
At the national level, the U.S. may adopt some form of carbon pricing in the near future, which would raise the cost of natural gas. And there is also growing concern about indoor air pollution from gas appliances. More than a century after it was first proposed, magnetic induction cooking's day in the sun may have arrived.
Kenneth McLeod is a professor of systems science, and director of the Clinical Science and Engineering Research Laboratory, Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Disclosure statement: Kenneth McLeod does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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The biggest earthquake in decades rattled New England Sunday morning.
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Construction can continue on most of the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled Friday.
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By Hao Tan, Elizabeth Thurbon, John Mathews, Sung-Young Kim
China's President Xi Jinping surprised the global community recently by committing his country to net-zero emissions by 2060. Prior to this announcement, the prospect of becoming "carbon neutral" barely rated a mention in China's national policies.
Goodbye, Fossil Fuels<p>Coal is currently used to generate <a href="https://ieefa.org/coals-share-of-china-electricity-generation-dropped-below-60-in-2018/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">about 60%</a> of China's electricity. Coal must be phased out for China to meet its climate target, unless technologies such as carbon-capture and storage become commercially viable.</p><p>Natural gas is <a href="https://chineseclimatepolicy.energypolicy.columbia.edu/en/natural-gas" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">increasingly used</a> in China for heating and transport, as an alternative to coal and petrol. To achieve carbon neutrality, China must dramatically reduce its gas use.</p><p>Electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles must also come to dominate road transport - currently they account for <a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2020-01/08/c_1125433202.htm" target="_blank">less than 2%</a> of the total fleet.</p><p>China must also slash the production of carbon-intensive steel, cement and chemicals, unless they can be powered by renewable electricity or zero-emissions hydrogen. One <a href="https://www.energy-transitions.org/publications/china-2050-a-fully-developed-rich-zero-carbon-economy/" target="_blank">report</a> suggests meeting the target will mean most of China's steel is produced using recycled steel, in a process powered by renewable electricity.</p><p><a href="https://www.energy-transitions.org/publications/china-2050-a-fully-developed-rich-zero-carbon-economy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Modeling</a> in that report suggests China's use of iron ore – and the coking coal required to process it into steel – will decrease by 75%. The implications for Australia's mining industry would be huge; around <a href="https://minerals.org.au/minerals/ironore" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">80%</a> of our iron ore is exported to China.</p><p>It is critically important for Australian industries and policymakers to assess the seriousness of China's pledge and the likelihood it will be delivered. Investment plans for large mining projects should then be reconsidered accordingly.</p><p><span></span>Conversely, China's path towards a carbon neutral economy may open up new export opportunities for Australia, such as "green" hydrogen.</p>
A Renewables Revolution<p>Solar and wind currently account for <a href="https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html" target="_blank">10% of China's total power generation</a>. For China to meet the net-zero goal, renewable energy generation would have to ramp up dramatically. This is needed for two reasons: to replace the lost coal-fired power capacity, and to provide the larger electricity needs of transport and heavy industry.</p><p>Two factors are likely to reduce energy demand in China in coming years. First, energy efficiency in the building, transport and manufacturing sectors is likely to improve. Second, the economy is moving <a href="https://apjjf.org/2018/10/Tan.html" target="_blank">away</a> from energy- and pollution-intensive production, towards an economy based on services and digital technologies.</p><p>It's in China's interests to take greater action on climate change. Developing renewable energy helps China build new "green" export industries, secure its energy supplies and improve air and water quality.</p>
The Global Picture<p>It's worth considering what factors may have motivated China's announcement, beyond the desire to do good for the climate.</p><p>In recent years, China has been viewed with increasing hostility on the world stage, especially by Western nations. Some <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/09/23/asia-pacific/china-carbon-neutral-2060/" target="_blank">commentators</a> have suggested China's climate pledge is a bid to improve its global image.</p><p>The pledge also gives China the high ground over a major antagonist, the US, which under President Donald Trump has walked away from its international obligations on climate action. China's pledge follows similar ones by the European Union, New Zealand, California and others. It sets an example for other developing nations to follow, and puts pressure on Australia to do the same.</p><p>The European Union has also been <a href="https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/europe-urges-china-to-match-its-climate-ambitions/" target="_blank">urging China</a> to take stronger climate action. The fact Xi made the net-zero pledge at a United Nations meeting suggests it was largely targeted at an international, rather than Chinese, audience.</p><p>However, the international community will judge China's pledge on how quickly it can implement specific, measurable short- and mid-term targets for net-zero emissions, and whether it has the policies in place to ensure the goal is delivered by 2060.</p><p>Much is resting on China's next <a href="https://chinadialogue.net/en/climate/11434-the-14th-five-year-plan-what-ideas-are-on-the-table/" target="_blank">Five Year Plan</a> – a policy blueprint created every five years to steer the economy towards various priorities. The latest plan, covering 2021–25, is being developed. It will be examined closely for measures such as phasing out coal and more ambitious targets for renewables.</p><p>Also key is whether the recent <a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-why-chinas-co2-emissions-grew-4-during-first-half-of-2019" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rebound</a> of China's carbon emissions – following a fall from 2013 to 2016 – can be reversed.</p>
Wriggle Room<p>The 2060 commitment is bold, but China may look to leave itself wriggle room in several ways.</p><p>First, Xi declared in his speech that China will "aim to" achieve carbon neutrality, leaving open the option his nation may not meet the target.</p><p>Second, the Paris Agreement states that developed nations should provide financial <a href="https://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/convention/application/pdf/english_paris_agreement.pdf" target="_blank">resources and technological support</a> to help developing countries reduce their emissions. China may make its delivery of the pledge conditional on this support.</p><p>Third, China may seek to game the way carbon neutrality is measured – for example, by insisting it excludes carbon emissions "embodied" in imports and exports. This move is quite likely, given exports account for a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140988316302432" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">significant share</a> of China's total greenhouse gas emissions.</p><p>So for the time being, the world is holding its applause for China's commitment to carbon neutrality. Like every nation, China will be judged not on its climate promises, but on its delivery.</p>
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