Monday, April 16, 2007

China addresses climate change

This is good news. China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, announced that his country was prepared negotiate on a new agreement limiting global warming emissions, to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012. China is not subject to emissions targets but will soon become the largest greenhouse gas emitter - China's cooperation is essential if global emissions are to be brought under control.

Research and political activity in China suggest it may be beginning to grasp that climate change poses a danger to itself. There is an extensive research effort going on in China that addresses climate change concerns.

A Reuters report suggests that China aims to reduce by 40% its greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of output by 2020 with an 80% cut by 2050. This is a 'no-regrets' oriented conservation option that makes sense for a country with low per capita energy consumption but low energy conservation efficiencies. China will reject strict caps for decades - this makes sense given that increasing per capita energy consumption is a development policy objective.

China's First National Climate Change Assessment that is about to be published in revised form notes the extreme vulnerability of China to climate change. This reflects its highly fragile environment, long coast-lines and current low per capita energy consumption.

The Chinese PM's announcement two days ago puts further pressure on countries like the US (and Australia) to cap emissions.

1 comment:

conrad said...

I don't think China has been beginning to grasp the problem -- they have been worried about it for ages. It's just that trying to get a solution to the problem is a far harder problem in a place like China than a place like Australia, for obvious reasons.