Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fair enough

From the Wall Street Journal:

China said in a document putting forward its demands for December climate talks in Copenhagen that developed nations must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2020 from 1990 levels.

China is also asking rich countries to donate at least 0.5% to 1% of their annual gross domestic product to help poorer countries cope with climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, it said in the document, which was posted on the Web site of the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic policy-making body that governs China's greenhouse gas emissions policy.


jkd said...

Hm. Don't think I agree.
That might be a satisfying make-up component here. But as climate remediation it's useless if it doesn't include global caps. Cutting Western emissions while further subsidizing poor countries' industrial development, even if it is meant to be green, is a great way to boil us all alive if not paired with emissions caps on a global scale.

Really only a global cap-and-trade system is going to get emissions down in any sustainable way. The U.S. and EU starting with their own caps is a good first step but ultimately everyone is going to have to go in on a framework.

Now: there is a way to make that framework fair, through dispersal and weighting of carbon permits, by accounting for goods' final destination, etc., so that the moral consequences of previous emissions and the economic burden of climate remediation is (rightly) mostly carried by the developed world. But it needs to be a global framework, or it will be a useless cost-shifting maneuver.

Old Tales Retold said...

Yeah, you're right. There's a question of fairness and then there's a question of stopping global warming. Obviously, the latter is ultimately the most important.

Some bias for developing countries is essential in any deal, though, like you said---but it's been awfully tricky to maintain in the WTO on trade and even the UN body responsible for technology transfers to the developing world seems hamstrung.

I don't understand this stuff too thoroughly, but it seems like if India and China play a little tough now (by leaning on the old HUGE exemptions for them under Kyoto, for example) then they can maybe tilt the final deal in the right direction.

On the other hand, Brazil's openness to real climate talks is encouraging.