The human race is finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the realities of climate change. If the vanishing ice caps in both hemispheres don’t offer enough evidence, the surging carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere – now at 385 parts per million and rising – point to a looming catastrophe. General consensus has settled on 450 ppm as the ultimate disaster threshold, but some scientists say it could be as low as 350, in which case we have already passed into the danger zone.

And the world is starting to wake up. After decades of handwringing over what the vast majority of the scientific community already accepted as truth, global leaders have begun to take action. Even on a planet where sea level is rising and forests are shrinking, the world is slowly turning green.

In 2006 China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, throwing it even further into the environmental limelight. Now an Asian nation ruled by the Chinese Communist Party and an American nation trying to shake off the legacy of a Republican administration are navigating the shift from red to green. Over the next several weeks, this blog will track developments in the U.S. and China. It will look at the imminent threats facing both nations, what they are doing to confront them and where they stand compared to each other and the rest of the world.

Red is Green is a project of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Kristen Minogue


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