If one thing refuses to respect sovereign borders, it is the environment. Not surprisingly, environmental degradation and preservation have emerged as major issues in globalization studies. In many parts of the world, the accelerated economic development brought by globalization has produced negative environmental impacts. Examples abound: global warming caused by increased industrial pollution; privatization of 'public' resources such as water; the clearing of land or marshes to make way for farmers trying to eke out more profits on the international markets or for multinational companies looking to build new factories. However, growing global awareness and campaigns by environmental groups are also having some impacts in saving ecosystems and endangered species.
China is taking steps to fight global warming, but demands that developed countries take primary responsibility. Currently the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is set to bypass the US by 2009, but points out that Chinese per-capita emission rates are lower than those of many rich countries. Chinese officials argue that long-term industrial development in the West caused global warming and, therefore, states that contributed most to the phenomenon and can best afford the cost of restricting pollution should bear the burden of combating climate change. Still, China has taken some steps to limit their emissions, including setting ambitious five-year targets and shutting down the worst polluters.