China To U.S.: Stop Consuming So Much!


Su Wei, a member of China's delegation at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali:

I just wonder whether it's fair to ask developing countries like China to take on binding targets or mandatory targets. I think there is much room for the United States to think whether it's possible to change (its) lifestyle and consumption patterns in order to contribute to the protection of the global climate.

Considering, among other things, the impact of those factories that make all that stuff, and growing trade tensions, China does make a pretty good point. (Though one wonders if that's what others in China, with 40 percent of its economy sunk in exports, really want).Though China has all but rejected emissions caps, and clearly has its environmental work cut out for it, the world's biggest climate changer has become an unlikely star at the Bali talks. With much to gain from a continued Clean Development Mechanism, the country has given full backing for a post-Kyoto agreement -- save for those pesky caps -- and is talking a lot about climate change.

Its targets of boosting renewable energy up to 10 percent by 2010 and improving energy efficiency by 20 percent, and other developments like a large tree planting program, a new non-food bio-fuels subsidy and innovative ways of improving weak environmental enforcement though loan controls, have seemed to earn it new respect.

And its being lauded for taking the lead in demanding that wealthier nations speed up the transfer of clean technologies to emerging economies. China moved up four spots on a list of 56 industrialized and emerging countries' environmental performance (the United States and Saudi Arabia occupied the last two places on the list respectively). China gets a lot of bashing for the environment, but it also deserves credit. And, as it continues to develop and consume more (car sales jumped 23 percent this year), it will deserve more credit if it can become the environmental steward it wants the U.S. to be.

AP via Physorg.

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