Beijing Instead of Copenhagen

[International Herald Tribune, France]



Financial Times Deutschland, Germany

Beijing Instead of Copenhagen


"The U.S. must demonstrate a strong political will to set mandatory national reduction goals - if not this year, then next. This is the only key to Beijing - and therefore - the only key to a subsequent global climate agreement."




November 18, 2009


Germany - Financial Times Deutschland - Original Article (German)


Is the world heating up? Is man the cause? And does it matter who caused it? The dabate is fierce, and protesters, like the one above in London at a protest of about 20,000, are making themselves heard.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Scientists present evidence that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record, Dec. 8, 00:00:42RealVideo

The question of whether global warming can still be limited to tolerable levels will not be decided in Copenhagen, but negotiated between China and the United States.


Therefore, it was a step forward when the two heads of state, Hu Jintao and Barack Obama, advocated at their bilateral summit - at least in principle - for a binding agreement. A classic chicken-and-egg question has stalled global climate talks: For effective climate protection, it is imperative that both the U.S. and China reduce their carbon emissions. Yet neither is politically able to commit unless the other does so as well. America may be responsible for the bulk of the greenhouse gases emitted so far, which is why the world is waiting with understandable impatience for the U.S. to come to an internal agreement on a climate law. But the majority of future emissions will come from emerging countries, particularly China.


This perspective would normally make the Western world shudder. On top of that, Beijing is adamant that developed countries take responsibility first, and steadfastly refuses to commit itself to international regulation. But in fact, the political leadership has long recognized that cleaner growth is in China’s interests. And here’s the good news: long before the Copenhagen summit, the country’s economic model has begun trending greener. For example, as the U.S. is just now beginning to more strictly regulate auto emissions, China has already formulated national targets for efficiency and energy use, and has invested in renewable energy. As for solar-rooftop technology, the country is already in the major leagues. It would be unrealistic to demand more substance from China, where the per-capita income remains a fraction of America’s.


[The Economist, U.K.]


What’s lacking is transparency and being able to measure these actions. While it realizes its ambitions, China's leadership doesn’t, under any circumstances, want developed nations looking over its shoulder. But that is precisely what may be necessary to get their American rivals to accept binding, international climate protection commitments.


Only Washington can bring Beijing to abandon this attitude. The United States must help China achieve its climate objectives by providing the know-how, even if its corporate leaders grumble about it. The announcement of joint research initiatives in areas such as clean coal and electric vehicles is an important confidence-building step. But above all, the USA must demonstrate a strong political will to set mandatory national reduction goals - if not this year, then next. This is the only key to Beijing. And, therefore, the only key to a subsequent global agreement.










































Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Dec. 9, 1:06am









































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