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.