Copenhagen previews – Chinese blogs and press

The US target of carbon emission reduction is outrageous; Emission reduction commitments should willingly receive the international inspections...

1. The US target of carbon emission reduction is outrageous (Xuepeng Tang, 01/12/2009

Targets of carbon emission reduction, proposed by the US, are outrageous. America’s carbon dioxide emission remains 19 tons per person and 0.7 tons per unit of GDP–which is comparatively four times higher than China. This means that the key to US carbon emission reduction is the “extravagant and wasteful consumption” of energy per capita. The goal that “to reduce it by 4% compared with 1990 levels”, proposed by Obama administration, has no meaningful outcome, which is not only much lower than proposals put forth by Europe and Japan, but easier to reach by encouraging people to save money, increasing small taxes to save energy, and purchasing carbon credits from other countries. Therefore, it is much easier to achieve compared with China’s targets.


2.Emission reduction commitments should willingly receive the international inspections (Xin Cao, 02/12/2009 Southern Weekly)

China announced last week that it is going to reduce the output of carbon dioxide emission per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40% to 45%, compared with 2005 levels. it is worth notice that Ambassador Yu Qingtai, the Special Representative for Climate Change Negotiation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, immediately said that China does not plan to accept inspections from the international community except from projects that might receive international financing.
As a new and strong economic power with carbon emissions among the highest in the world, China’s emission problem is not only its own, but also the responsibility of the global community to mitigate carbon emissions. When the world’s attention focuses on China, the inspections already objectively exist. They are not transferred by human desires, and they do not care whether China prefers it or not. Receiving inspections, especially from relevant organizations like the UN, could clarify responsibilities and protocol of what is right and wrong. Would it be very passive, otherwise, to see international public opinion sway China’s corporation for future inspections? Although China has made efforts, China might not be recognized or even misunderstood by the international community because it continues to reject inspections.


3.The amount of China’s carbon emission reduction depends on international financial and technological cooperation (Wen Zhang, 02/12/09 Time Weekly)

For the commitments made by the Chinese government without any preconditions, Pan Jiahua has serious considerations: “This time means that we have made a one-sided commitment. It has not mentioned the financial and technological supports from the Bali Roadmap. China has to fight itself for the reduction goals.” Pan articulates, “In view of the above considerations, the results of reducing emissions and saving energy that were completed in the Eleventh Five-Year, Twelfth Five-Year (particularly the strategic trends),and the Thirteenth Five-Year plan, the proposal for the per unit of GDP on carbon emission reduction is to reduce it by 35% in 2020, relative to 2005 levels. If international financial and technological cooperation, proposed in the Bali Roadmap, could be implemented, the emission reduction might increase to 40% or more.”

4. Implications of President Obama’s time spent in Copenhagen (Wang Xiaojun 5/12/09 in the 21st Century Financial Report)

China is also one of the extremely frail countries under the threat of climate change. Not only is food production being threatened, helping the poor also becomes more challenging due to climate change. The rare drought which ravaged the north this year unveiled its mercilessness. By November, the widespread heavy snowfall in the region was really one disaster after another. According to the latest news from China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs on 15th November, during the snowfall in China’s northern regions, 9.6 million people were afflicted in 8 provinces (autonomous districts) including Hebei, Shangdong, Henan and Ningxia, 32 people died in the disaster, and it resulted in a direct financial loss of 700 million RMB.  

In my hometown, accumulated snow caused landslides in which 12 people lost their lives. Here, these are the bloodiest evidence to date as a result of climate change. Politicians of the world may not be concerned about these lives – they are only concerned with political results, but real leaders are those who sympathise and show solicitude for public feelings, who understand from experience popular feelings and take action accordingly. This year, wherever President Obama has been in attendance, Green Peace often exhibits the poster which reads: “Politicians talk, leaders act.”  

Next Tuesday, President Obama will briefly pass through Copenhagen. His length of stay has not been decided yet. But, if he is only going through the motions without taking anything to heart from Copenhagen, then I believe that people in those susceptible countries will have neither home nor enough food in the future.