China's standing in the world—whether it is, or is seen to be, a great power—is a question of signal importance because of what great powers are capable of doing, what effects their actions and words have on others, and what is expected of them. By most conventional measures, China is at least on the verge of being a great power. Yet the country also occupies a pivotal global position in terms of its present and expected future impact on the environment. In the final analysis, because greatness is so much a function of a willingness to shoulder responsibility and demonstrate leadership, China's standing as a great power may well be determined by the country's response to the acute environmental stresses it faces. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd on behalf of The Regents of the University of California.

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