Thursday, November 26, 2009

China Trumps Obama on Greenhouse Gas Reductions

President Obama offered a 17% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2020 and the Chinese counter offered with a 45% reduction in China's 'carbon intensity' by 2020. Carbon intensity was first introduced by the Bush administration in their Clear Skies Initiative. Carbon intensity is a measure that captures the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of gross domestic product. This carbon dioxide poker game between America and China is postering in anticipation of the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

Yet neither nation has any formal structure for attaining these targets. Although Congress has legislation pending that equals President Obama's pledge, the prospects for passage are not very good. The Chinese are balking at any real reduction targets. China believes Western nations created the global warming problem and they are not about to moderate their red hot economic growth to meet any international greenhouse gas reduction targets. In fact, China and African nations are seeking billions in subsidies and technical help from developed nations in exchange for any sort of international climate change agreement. Western nations, whose economies are still struggling with recession, are not inclined to allocate significant subsidies to developing nations. The Center does not see China as a 'developing' nation. If anything, they are quickly becoming the most developed nation on Earth. (Wash Post, 11/26/09)

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