it is unknown definitively whether manmade greenhouse gases are
playing a role in climate change, or exactly what that role may be,
many scientists and politicians support early studies which suggest a
link between carbon dioxide emissions and a global warming trend.
They want the international community to band together to make
drastic cuts to the global CO2budget.
The only problem is that those cuts are far from cheap; rather
cost trillions of dollars.The U.S. has already committed
to rather stringent emissions cuts. President Obama has pledged
that the U.S. will cut cut
17 percent of its emissions by 2020 (with regards to 2005
levels), 30 percent reduction by 2025, 42 percent by 2030,
percent by 2050. Those cuts will have a major
impact on the world emissions picture, as the U.S. is the second
largest emitter of greenhouse gases. However, the largest
emitter of greenhouse gases, China, has been reticent
to commit to a solid goal of any kind, saying that it
prefers to make "voluntary" commitments.At Tsinghua
University in the Chinese national capitol in Beijing on Wednesday
the top U.S. climate negotiator, Todd Stern, was in talks with high
level Chinese officials about adopting more binding
targets. Stern, fresh off an grueling run at
Copenhagen, spoke to reporters, stating,
"With respect to the issue of transparency, I think it's hugely
important and we do put a lot of emphasis on it. Countries need
to be able to see what track the world is on generally, where we are
going. The only way we can do that is if there are clear and
transparent measures with respect to the inventories of greenhouse
gases, what measures are being put in place by countries and so
forth."The greenhouse gas talks with China are part of a
longer series of talks concerning economic cooperation and strategic
cooperation, particularly on touchy issues like the recent attack by
North Korean on a South Korean vessel. When it comes to climate
the U.S., for all its efforts, may be unable to convince China to
adopt a binding resolution.Beijing's emission plan is rather
bizarre, and according to some, impossible. The nation plans to
allow emissions to climb for several more years before dramatically
turning the corner, and by 2020 reducing emissions 40 to 45 percent
from 2005 levels. So in other words, Beijing thinks it can
accomplish what the U.S. is doing and
far more in
a far shorter time frame, on a voluntary basis.Of course,
what the U.S. worries about is that China won't even match the U.S.
pledge by the time 2020 rolls around, because there's no binding
commitment. If China misses its target, it's no big deal -- it
was voluntary in the first place. And China has already argued
in the past that it should get
its chance to grow rampantly and pursue the cheapest path to
expansion -- regardless of emissions -- because Western nations
already had the chance to do so. This long-standing rhetoric
clashes with the nation's promises, and makes their voluntary nature
all the more suspect.Still, China and the U.S. hope to be
closer to seeing eye-to-eye on the climate issue by November, when
the next round of UN climate talks are held in Cancun, Mexico.
In the meantime, the U.S. has to consider its own emissions goals and
how it plans to meet them. While the issue of China is
concerning to U.S. officials, surely a bigger concern is how to
effectively cut the U.S.'s carbon output without doing billions in
damage to the nation's economy in the process.
quote: There is a reason why the heaviest polluting countries are among the poorest on Earth. India anyone?
quote: China knows it cannot afford to go "green".
quote: But make no mistake, you cannot have a roaring and thriving economy, and also have Kyoto style super restrictive national emissions regulating policies. It's never worked anywhere in the world.