China deploys green 'SWAT teams' to meet climate goals

China's government is deploying environmental "SWAT teams" to impose strict new pollution rules in an effort to wean itself off coal and meet December's Paris climate accord, according to a senior attorney with a prominent environmental group. Yet, even with strict enforcement, it is still to be seen if the country will be successful.

China's government has "set up SWAT teams ... in the last few months and have increased the fines" for regions that do not comply with strict new rules to reduce coal consumption, Barbara Finamore, the Natural Resources Defense Council's Asia director and senior attorney, said on a call Friday to talk about China's latest five-year environmental strategy.

China issued its 13th five-year plan recently, spurring optimism from environmental groups but also some skepticism based on the challenges the country faces in meeting its ambitious goals. China's success in improving its environmental record is widely seen as key to meeting the goals of the climate change deal that President Obama agreed to in December and plans to sign next month.