Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Heated Blame Game

After the Copenhagen climate change summit, Ed Miliband, the British climate change and energy secretary was quoted in an article in the Guardian, accusing China of causing the downfall of the Copenhagen Accord.

China immediately went into self-defense mode and claimed that it was a good deal for all.

However, on December 22, the Guardian published a first-hand account of what really did happen during the negotiations.

In it environmental activist Mark Lynas details how China refused to budge at all on its targets for two weeks and then towards the end of the summit, proceeded to bully other nations to drop their pledges on their respective targets too. China made them take out any kind of binding targets from the accord and drop the 1.5 degree Celsius target.

According to Lynas, President Nasheed of the Maldives, supported by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, fought valiantly to save this crucial number. "How can you ask my country to go extinct?" demanded Nasheed.

The Chinese feigned great offense and the number stayed, but around language that was hardly binding or significant.

Why did China do this?

The Middle Kingdom played a political game that made US President Barack Obama look bad for not doing enough about climate change when in fact he was desperately talking up a storm with as many people as he could, and promising $100 billion in aid to developing countries to help them with climate change -- but with a catch -- that there would have to be international monitoring.

China didn't want developed countries to have binding targets because eventually that would mean developing countries like itself would have to be subjected to targets too. It also vehemently rejected any kind of international monitoring, as it would be "an offense to its sovereignty."

In reality China does not want others to see what is really going on beyond the numerous windmills and solar heaters it already has. The country has a massive environmental disaster on its hands, its air, land and water practically destroyed in the name of economic development. China is hardly interested in getting more flak with its already dismal human rights record.

A Chinese colleague and I talked about this article and I moaned that China didn't care about humankind.

She wryly replied, "Look at how it treats its own people."

Concerned about how Copenhagen would turn out too, she was disappointed to see China was not willing to do more.

She explained that while the Chinese government looked like it cared about the environment with all its green projects, it really wasn't interested in climate change or saving the world.

All the government is really interested in is self-preservation.

It does not care if small island nations like the Maldives are going to be submerged or that the polar ice caps are melting at an even faster rate.

All China wants to do is ensure economic growth which means stability so that the Communist Party will continue to have its mandate to rule. It wants to continue the myth that everyone in China can be rich. But how rich is rich? And at what expense?

This selfishness is obscene.

Countries around the world gathered at Copenhagen to earnestly hammer out a deal -- a deal to save the world from itself.

Every country was willing to bargain to a certain extent but with the main aim of committing to lowering greenhouse gas emissions to cool off global warming a bit so that we would have more time to figure out how else to save the planet.

But not China.

This shows its slogans like "One World, One Dream", and "A Harmonious Society" are meaningless words.

Doesn't the government realize that if there is no Earth left, there will be no Communist Party of China either?

Something's gotta give. The planet has given more than its share.

1 comment:

gung said...

after all these years still empty promises. but other countries should also chip in.