China, Cap And Trade, And Futility

Posted on Wed 03/18/2009 by


Conn Carroll

The Washington Post reports today:

Li Gao, China’s top climate negotiator, said any fair international agreement to curb the gases blamed for global warming would not require China to reduce emissions caused by goods manufactured to meet demand elsewhere.

The idea that China would ever make cuts in carbon emissions a priority has always been a fable. Heritage fellow Derek Scissors explains why:

Behind Chinese policies on competitiveness -indeed behind almost everything involving the PRC-is the Communist Party’s top priority for 20 years and counting: jobs. The well-documented demographic surge that precipitated the one-child policy has put a generation’s worth of pressure on the party to create jobs and avoid socio-political instability. This is the main reason the Chinese development pattern differs from its East Asian predecessors: Beijing has been much more open to foreign investment because the PRC’s primary concern has been employment generation-even more than economic nationalism.

This is why China has allowed the environmental devastation already seen and why, despite its general view that climate change is dangerous, Beijing will accept nothing that even threatens to seriously inhibit employment. In his address to Congress, President Obama cited China’s new energy program as the largest in the world. On some counts, this may be accurate. It absolutely does not, however, indicate a willingness to genuinely move away from high-emissions energy production.

China is not the only nation who has always refused to reduce their carbon emissions at the cost of economic priorities. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman R K Pachauri recently said in Copenhagen: “Of course, the developing countries will be exempted from any such restrictions but the developed countries will certainly have to cut down on emission.”

So far all the trillions of dollars in economic harm cap and trade would cause the United States, what would we get in return? CATO’s Patrick Michaels reports:

Even if it were successfully implemented, Kyoto would have done nothing about global warming. The Kyoto treaty, climatologist Tom M. L. Wigley wrote in Geophysical Research Letters in 1998, would reduce the earth’s surface temperature by an unmeasureable 0.14°F per 50 years. This has been common knowledge since its inception.

TonyfromOz adds …..

Read that paragraph I have highlighted above in dark blue again. The U.N. says that developing Countries (read China) will be exempted from any restrictions that they will impose upon those Developed Countries. (read U.S.)

Conn Carroll is an editor at The Heritage Foundation.

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