The story of emissions over the past two decades has been written in Chinese.

Since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 and became the world’s factory, China has contributed nearly two-thirds of the growth in carbon pollution globally. Even in per-capita terms, it’s now a bigger greenhouse emitter than the European Union. The world’s carbon footprint is split into three roughly equal portions: China, all developed nations and the rest of the world.

That makes the recent signs of strain in the country’s carbon dioxide-intensive growth model an issue not just for Beijing, but for the long-term fate of the planet.