Leonardo DiCaprio said China, one of the most polluted countries in the world and ruled by a communist government, has an opportunity to become the “hero of the environmental movement” for its concerted efforts to curb carbon emission output.
DiCaprio, coming off his big Oscar win, heaped praise on China while promoting his new movie “The Revenant” in Beijing Sunday.
“As we all know, the United States and China are the two biggest contributors, and I think that China has made radical movements forward as far as alternative energy and ways to be sustainable,” he said at a press conference.
China has the opportunity “to change the world and I have all the confidence in the world that that is their intention,” DiCaprio added.
China’s National Energy Administration posted a notice on its website in February announcing its decision to shutter a slew of mines as part of a plan to slash as much as 500 million tons of surplus coal production out of the market within the next decade.
China’s lofty rhetoric regarding its anti-coal mission hit a roadblock after environmentalist group Greenpeace reported in March the country has 210 coal power plants waiting to be opened and put online and 95 have received regulatory permits.
“There is a very rapid and accelerating net increase in coal-fired generating capacity,” Lauri Myllyvirta, the head of Greenpeace’s anti-coal campaign, told Reuters Tuesday.
DiCaprio, for his part, has ramped up the anti-coal rhetoric recently. He told audiences in Davos, Switzerland in January coal producers are contributing to so-called man-made global warming because of “corporate greed.”
“Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied and even covered-up the evidence of our changing climate,” the actor said. “Enough is enough. You know better. The world knows better. History will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet.”
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