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China has severe air pollution probems. It emits more greenhouse gases than any other nation.  (Source: Treehugger)

China is cleverly leveraging the warming debate to try to turn the world's most powerful developing nations against the U.S.  (Source: The Hindu)
China rallies developing nations to oppose emissions restrictions championed by the U.S. and its allies

Tensions between China and the U.S. are already running high.  You can now add one more contentious issue to the mix -- global warming.

In December, President Barack Obama traveled to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen to try to broker a climate alliance to fight global warming.  Hopes of a true international deal, though, vanished as the industrialized nations failed to reach a binding compromise with developing nations.

China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is leading an alliance of developing nations dubbed BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China).  BASIC wants the U.S. and other "rich" nations to bear the primary cost of fighting global warming.  They argue that the industrialized nations already had their chance to grow and develop.  Meanwhile the U.S. and others have argued that China and its allies need to take warming much more seriously.

There is some hope of a compromise.  In an eleventh hour meeting at Copenhagen, between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an interruption by President Obama triggered talks that would eventually lead to the developing countries and the industrialized ones signing an accord, near the end of the Copenhagen summit.

The Copenhagen Accord is no true climate treaty and should not be hailed as such.  It lacks any sort of clear roadmap for fighting warming.  What it does provide is an agreement that warming costs must be shouldered equally by all nations, not thrust upon industrialized or developing nations.

Many consider that a slight victory for the U.S. as the developing nations were particular vocal in calling for unequal restrictions on wealthy nations.

The debate, however, is quietly allowing China to consolidate developing nations in economic opposition to the U.S.  China scored a win when its ally Sudan was elected chair of the Group of 77 bloc of developing countries.

Meanwhile, China is courting India via the warming debate.  India is typically a close ally of America economically and based on shared domestic issues, such as terrorism threats form Islamic extremists.  However, India has allied itself with China when it comes to the warming debate.  And it seems apparent that China is in firm control of the direction of BASIC.

The true test of the future of warming legislation will come late this year.  After a series of small summits, world leaders, including, presumably, U.S. President Barack Obama, will convene in Cancun Mexico this December to try to iron out a binding treaty.

The question becomes whether China is truly looking to cooperate and is merely trying to protect its own interests, or whether the growing economic giant is looking to use the debate to consolidate its political power in the developing nation sphere, at a time when its clashing with U.S. government and businesses.

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RE: Shocking
By Dorkyman on 4/6/2010 10:39:54 AM , Rating: 5
To me, it's more than that.

Even IF it were obvious that humans were the cause of Global Warming, from what I've read we are unable to do anything about it.

By that I mean I've read articles that state that even with draconian measures in place, the earth would continue to warm, though perhaps at a slightly slower rate. If so, that it seems to me the best course of action is to learn to adapt to the changes. Humans are especially good at that.

RE: Shocking
By Shig on 4/6/2010 10:48:23 AM , Rating: 5
Global warming will be the least of China's problems if they keep opening coal power plants at the rate they're going.

They're heading for a health pandemic with all that pollution they're pumping out.

But hey if they want to keep selling us cheap goods and turning their own country into a smoggy landfill, so be it. I think they'll soon realize it wasn't worth it and they won't be able to go back.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 11:01:43 AM , Rating: 4
You're exaggerating the situation. China is nowhere near as bad as Britain was just a few decades ago. In one weekend in 1952, for instance, coal smog was so thick that 10,000 people died, and the air was so dark that cars and buses couldn't be used, with visibility down to a few feet.

Once they installed pollution control mechanisms on all their coal-burning plants, the problem vanished almost overnight.

RE: Shocking
By Keeir on 4/6/2010 2:42:04 PM , Rating: 3
Thats a bit of a stretch Porkpie,

The "Great Smog" is what I believe you are refering to...

Which lead to the early death of as many as 12,000 out of 8.12 million pollution at the time. "Early Death" is the key as most of the dead had pre-existing problems.

If such a freak weather event happened... in say Beijing, the "early" dead would number into the 20,000+ Range. IF Western scientists ever got to study it... for example, how many early dead were affected by




Overall though, China had the opportunity to use pollution controls from nearly the start... and the lessions learned from hundreds of years of mistakes in the west... Air Pollution (Just NOx),1518...

Or some partial pollution?

Unless China (and India) slows down, they are rapidly head to air pollution problems that will be singificiantly worse than late industrial age in Britian/US, which is unfortunate, since they have the data about what will occur.

RE: Shocking
By The0ne on 4/6/2010 2:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
Porkpie was stretching it a bit but the point should be taken. As you stated,

"Overall though, China had the opportunity to use pollution controls from nearly the start... and the lessions learned from hundreds of years of mistakes in the west... Air Pollution (Just NOx)"

This is the biggest factor, imo, that China is disregarding with the push for more and more coal plants. It is a shame because history did and will continue to prove that environments and people will suffer from them.

On one hand, I can't really blame them for wanting to "develop" as quickly as possible as US and Britain had in their history, but at the same time you can't really ignore lessons they've learned. China will not consider the history factors and will continue to develop, clean or not. It is truly a shame actually.

RE: Shocking
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 6:36:56 PM , Rating: 3
This is the biggest factor, imo, that China is disregarding with the push for more and more coal plants. It is a shame because history did and will continue to prove that environments and people will suffer from them.

It pains me to say this, but that is because China is smarter than the US and Europe at the moment. They finally have a good economy going, and they understand that extreme environmental policies mean the destruction of that economy. That's why they are fighting these changes, and I can't blame them.

China will not consider the history factors and will continue to develop, clean or not. It is truly a shame actually.

So did the US and Europe years ago. They can "be clean" later, right now economic prosperity is the main goal, as it should be. Because you can't really have both. You can't have a roaring economy AND massive legislation. Hell look at the United States right now and the path we have just been taken on. We're a perfect example.

RE: Shocking
By slunkius on 4/7/2010 5:16:44 AM , Rating: 1
wonder if you would be willing to live in the smoggy city with coal plant chugging pollutants, all in the name of "good economy going" and you going under, six feet under i mean.
problem is that in china no one listens to people, party decides what risks are worth taking, and people are left to live with that

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 10:37:08 AM , Rating: 3
Would you be willing to have you and your family starve to death, in the name of a "clean planet"? Would you be willing to spend 15 hours a day working in rice paddies, in the hot sun, just to cut your risk of cancer from smog by 0.01% ?

China knows what its doing, far far better than you do.

RE: Shocking
By Laereom on 4/6/2010 3:28:15 PM , Rating: 4
What gets me about the whole thing is that, worst case, we'll basically return to the carboniferous era. What's that, you say? Global warming? Ice caps melting?

So Indonesia will sink, New Orleans will get swampier, and BOTH RUSSIA AND CANADA WILL BE ABLE TO GROW REAL CROPS?

I'll take 4.

RE: Shocking
By JediJeb on 4/6/2010 5:23:10 PM , Rating: 3
Wasn't that the era when CO2 levels were 10x what they are today or more, and yet the planet didn't turn into a world wide desert or melt as most AGW extremist say will happen if we only double the CO2 levels?

RE: Shocking
By MadMan007 on 4/6/2010 9:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sunlight levels were lower then too. Temperatures don't track just with CO2, it's true, but they track almost perfectly with a combination of CO2 *and* sunlight intensity.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 10:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
"Sunlight levels were lower then too"

Eh? There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for that assertion. It's just a hypothesis the pro-AGW crowd has suggested, in order to try to explain away the glaring hole in their theory, that CO2 levels are often very high when temperatures are low, and vice versa.

RE: Shocking
By dark matter on 4/7/2010 7:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
And we should believe you over them, why exactly?

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 9:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
You mean besides the scientific principle, Occam's razor, and basic common sense? A hypothesis must be supported with facts or evidence to be believed. The burden of proof lies with those advancing a theory, not those rejected it. You don't make wild claims, then say "if you can't disprove it, it must be true".

Science has worked for us pretty well so far. Why not stick with it?

RE: Shocking
By DizzyMan on 4/8/2010 6:27:58 AM , Rating: 2
Some simple figures can back that up. We humans produce just under 7% of total global CO2 output, the rest is natural. Just a simple calculation tells us that the 20% reduction that was originally proposed would result in a 1,33% reduction globally. Obviously, that is so little that nothing would really change. (The figures can be found on Wikipedia and other sites).

Add to that that CO2 is not even the gas that contributes most to GW, that would be simple watervapor. We cannot control that in any way, so if we really wanted to do something that matters then why didn't we start cleaning up the oceans and replanting trees in stead of reducing our output. Why aren't our deserts littered with solar panels so we can close polluting powerplants.

Just to say that we are going at it the wrong way. In stead of adjusting to what the world can process, increase the CO2 processing features of our planet. If CO2 is causing it at all...

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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