China plan: slower growth, no reductions.

The Chinese unveiled a new plan to address their country’s rapidly growing greenhouse gas reductions. They flat out reject a mandatory cap on emissions, claiming that developing countries should not be punished economically for the sins of western countries.

Their goal: 20% increased energy efficiency 20% over 2005 by 2010.

The measures included expanded research and deployment of new energy-saving technologies, improvement of agricultural infrastructure, increased tree-planting and water resource management and greater public awareness of the issue.

I don’t know how intentional this language is, but I see no mention of investment in renewable energy production. (The Chinese are more addicted to coal than we are.)

China is anticipated to pass the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases within the next year or two, though they still rank very low in terms of per capita emissions.

China has fallen under increasing pressure internationally to take more forceful measures to curb releases of greenhouse gases. The country relies on coal — among the dirtiest of fuels — to meet two-thirds of its energy needs and is projected to surpass the U.S. as the world’s No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases sometime in the next two years.

In explaining the new program, Ma said global warming was largely caused by 200 years of unrestrained industrialization by the West, and it would be unfair to impose mandatory emissions caps on China and other developing nations.

“It is neither realistic nor fair to … overlook the different stages of development that different countries are in and to use climate change as an excuse to ask them to undertake quantified emissions reductions commitments,” Ma said.

Honestly, he has a point. But then again, I have a funny feeling that the effects of global warming won’t just be felt in the industrialized world. In fact, studies point to the exact opposite.

It just goes to show that with climate change, nature can be as unfair as everything else. So, do the Chinese continue to lament this or accept that any notion of fairness is irrelevant? On second thought, it’s likely that all of this is just posturing to get commitments from western countries to invest in China’s energy future.

The report was announced–much like Bush’s transparent attempt to circumvent international pressure while avoiding true commitments–in advance of the G8 Summit.


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