"If countries like China don't cut their carbon emissions drastically then it doesn't matter what the rest of us do."
I'm beginning to lose count of how many times I've heard that argument, or a variation of it. There is some truth to it, but that doesn't make it any less disheartening to hear it used repeatedly as an excuse for inaction across Europe.
Good news from China this week then, with the announcement that plans for the world's first carbon-neutral city have been unveiled.
The city of Dongtan will house a quarter of a million residents, and aims to provide power for all of them through solar, wind and biofuel power.
The first phase is due to be completed by 2010, and four other Chinese cities are putting similar plans into place.
Coverage of the proposed city has been positive but sceptical; we're probably all used to hearing of grand eco-plans that never come to fruition, or fall short of the goals they are aiming for. Let's hope that's not the case here and that Dongtan inspires carbon-neutral cities worldwide. Apparently London Mayor Ken Livingstone has already said he would like to build a similar eco-zone along the river Thames.