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China and the Environment

September 13, 2009

This is why the FT is regularly worth your time and money.

Europe too suspicious of China’s energy policies

According to an opinion poll, more than half of Denmark’s population has little or no confidence that world leaders will strike an agreement on fighting climate change at December’s landmark United Nations summit in Copenhagen.  It is just a hunch, but I reckon one impulse behind this pessimism is the widespread European suspicion that China, which recently overtook the US as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, will play an unconstructive role at the talks.

What if this suspicion is unfounded?

China’s official position is that the US, Europe and other developed regions bear the primary responsibility for cutting emissions.  In spite of its rapid economic growth, China regards itself as a relatively poor country that, on a per capita basis, consumes much less energy than the developed world.  China had no binding emission targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and may well refuse to accept such targets at Copenhagen.

But too few Europeans recognise that China’s leaders know they have a climate change problem and fully intend to deal with it.

(and continues)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 19, 2009 6:34 pm

    As per http://euandus3.wordpress.com/2009/12/19/national-sovereignty-and-climate-change-at-copenhagen/ , the less than stellar result of the UN conference on climate change can be seen to point to the antiquated absolutist approach to national sovereignty in the wake of the technological changes of the 20th century.

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