Donald Trump has become the pantomime villain of the climate change story. At the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, the US president played the role to perfection, denouncing climate activists as “prophets of doom”, while Greta Thunberg, the teenage campaigner, watched on from the audience.

However, if you look at the numbers — as opposed to the theatre — it becomes clear that the battle to control climate change now depends much more on what happens in China than in the US. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, China now accounts for 29% of global carbon dioxide emissions generation — compared with 16% for the US, about 10% for the EU and 7% for India. Even on a per capita basis, the Chinese now emit more greenhouse gases than Europeans and have done so since 2014.

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