Wednesday, December 23, 2009

China wrecked the Copenhagen deal

I actually don't care much for the Copenhagen conference (and Kyoto before that) since a lot of AGW is political rather than scientific. This was made quite clear by China's actions during the conference; they don't think Shanghai or the Pearl River Delta will be underwater anytime soon.

Guardian UK
How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room

Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful "deal" so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.

Shifting the blame

To those who would blame Obama and rich countries in general, know this: it was China's representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal. "Why can't we even mention our own targets?" demanded a furious Angela Merkel. Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone. Brazil's representative too pointed out the illogicality of China's position. Why should rich countries not announce even this unilateral cut? The Chinese delegate said no, and I watched, aghast, as Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point. Now we know why – because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord's lack of ambition.

China, backed at times by India, then proceeded to take out all the numbers that mattered. A 2020 peaking year in global emissions, essential to restrain temperatures to 2C, was removed and replaced by woolly language suggesting that emissions should peak "as soon as possible". The long-term target, of global 50% cuts by 2050, was also excised. No one else, perhaps with the exceptions of India and Saudi Arabia, wanted this to happen. I am certain that had the Chinese not been in the room, we would have left Copenhagen with a deal that had environmentalists popping champagne corks popping in every corner of the world.

China's game

All this raises the question: what is China's game? Why did China, in the words of a UK-based analyst who also spent hours in heads of state meetings, "not only reject targets for itself, but also refuse to allow any other country to take on binding targets?" The analyst, who has attended climate conferences for more than 15 years, concludes that China wants to weaken the climate regulation regime now "in order to avoid the risk that it might be called on to be more ambitious in a few years' time".

This does not mean China is not serious about global warming. It is strong in both the wind and solar industries. But China's growth, and growing global political and economic dominance, is based largely on cheap coal. China knows it is becoming an uncontested superpower; indeed its newfound muscular confidence was on striking display in Copenhagen. Its coal-based economy doubles every decade, and its power increases commensurately. Its leadership will not alter this magic formula unless they absolutely have to.

Haven't "the West" learned anything from dealing with North Korea and Iran? These dictators don't give a shit about anything other than keeping their power and privilege. China can't risk an economic slowdown since that will lead to greater domestic discontent, especially amongst the poor farmers and migrant workers. That in turn, will pose a risk to "social harmony" and stability, but mainly threaten the CCP's stranglehold on the Chinese people.

China is not a developing country. The country is poor on average because the CCP screwed up the economy for decades. It is an industrialized country and the #1 polluter in the world. If Beijing was serious about fixing corruption and waste, the standard of living would increase immediately.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

tough choice: your dislike of AGW/climate change alarmists or your dislike of the chinese communist party.

looks like we have a winner: hatred of chinese communist party edges out Al Gore birthed chicken littles.