“What Cuts?” : China Demands Financial and Legal Concessions For New Greenhouse Gas Reductions While India Steadfastly Refuses Any Cuts

earth-screensaver_large220px-AlfedPalmersmokestacksChina has long proven to be one of the most destructive nations on Earth for the environment from air pollution that is diminishing the air quality of nations across the ocean to an insatiable market for endangered species products. After President Obama challenged China (the leading producer of greenhouse gases in the world) to match reductions of the West in carbon emission reductions, China refused and demanded massive payments, including Intellectual Property concessions, to convince it to make even greater cut in its pollution. Despite its ascendance into the top of world economics, China continues to suggest that it is another “developing country” and that the West should make the major economic sacrifices for environment. China did commit setting new limits domestically and will be working on joint projects with the United States. The United States has not been a leader in this area for some time but President Obama’s remarks were welcomed by the world environmental community. Conversely, India’s Environmental Minister summed up the obstructionist position of his country by asking “What cuts? That’s for more developed countries. The moral principle of historic responsibility cannot be washed away.” Well, given the rate of rising pollution in India, it will be hard to see anything, let alone cuts, if his country maintains this destructive policy.

New studies show the pollutants are increasing in China as well as other nations. The change is significant:

According to the Nature Geoscience review, the world’s emissions in 2013 were 5 metric tons per person. China’s were 7.2 metric tons per person, the U.S. produced 16.4, the EU produced 6.8, and India produced 1.9. In 1990, China produced 2.2 metric tons per person, and the United States produced 19.1.

In a document submitted to the Geneva-based U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), China said that any reductions in its pollution will be “dependent on the adequate finance and technology support provided by developed country parties” in any new climate accord. In the ultimate holdup pitch, China demands incentive payments from “new, additional, adequate, predictable and sustained public funds.” In this new demand, China insists that the promised $100 billion in annual climate financing from the West is only the “starting point.” In another transparent demand, China wants the removal of “obstacles such as IPRs [intellectual property rights]” to “promote, facilitate and finance the transfer” of “technologies and know-how” to developing countries in advance of any future climate deal. Chinese citizens are choking on air pollution and some of us no longer go to China because of the continual shroud of brown air across cities and towns.

China did state that it was moving to curtail its carbon emissions but refused to accept the type of cuts demanded from the United States and Western countries. So it is not all bad news. China is putting caps into its next five-year plan and has been investing greater amounts in abatement.

The Chinese commitment is still greater than those of India which continues to refuse to reduce its emissions.

37 thoughts on ““What Cuts?” : China Demands Financial and Legal Concessions For New Greenhouse Gas Reductions While India Steadfastly Refuses Any Cuts”

  1. India is like the old Wild West. Certainly worth a visit. I’m a Laisez Faire kind of guy, but, like the old Wild West, a little sensible government, law & order, might be welcome. Of course you have the religious nuts who want to impose their ideals on others, but that is not government. In many ways it is a freer country than the USA. Eventually they will clean up their pollution for themselves, not the West. We should remember that it was Europe, Russia & the USA that nearly polluted the planet to death with radiation in the sixties. Ten more years of nuclear testing and we would now be in a nuclear winter with death & sickness all around us and a population below a billion.

  2. I like Isaac’s plan to tax imports according to their pollution reduction compliance or not. Of course, we have been top dog polluters for many decades. Europe’s rivers were able to catch fire shortly after WWII. That was the case for the Thames in London and I used to play with balls of soot almost a quarter inch in diameter on trains or at my grandmother’s London apartment in the fifties. It was still a time of really solid London fogs but Shefield, the steel making town in Yorkshire, took the cake with a valley wide dark grey and yellow impenetratable fog that you could smell 15 miles away. I was all cleaned up long before I came to North America in 1970. Then I saw the same problems in the USA. Much better now of course, but we will have to go further before we can claim any clout.

    1. Angry Indian – China has its own pollution problem. And my response is actually to the stealing of resources, rape and pillage with gay abandon, etc. of the economies of others.

      Personally, I think the pollution of both China and India is doing great harm to both countries. Still, it is their problem to work out.

  3. I see how this works. White-skinned aristocrats enslave the world for hundreds of years, steal their resources, rape and pillage with gay abandon, develop their economies as a direct result. Without any regard for pollution effects whatsoever, mind you. Then, when the formerly enslaved world tries to get back on its feet, talk about high-minded principles like pollution control.

    When the Queen returns the Kohinoor to India and reparations for nearly 400 years of oppression with a groveling apology, we’ll talk. Until then, the west can go ()*&^ itself.

    1. Angry Indian – Have we forgotten the Chinese Empire which is currently expanding again. Or the Ottoman Empire?

      Personally, I am sensitive to pollution so I am currently not visiting either India or China, though I would love to.

  4. From Dean Baker’s Website

    “President Obama’s effort to get China to agree to emission reductions. China remains much poorer than the United States, even though it has surpassed the United States in GDP, because it has four times the population.

    Furthermore, many of its emissions are associated with goods that are produced for export to the United States and other countries. In that sense, the United States has effectively exported emissions connected to its own consumption to China. Also, the problem of global warming is associated with the accumulation of carbon dioxide over time. The United States and other wealthy countries have been contributing to this buildup on a large scale for more than a century. If they had not put so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, global warming would not be a problem today. China has far to go before it catches up to the United States in total carbon dioxide emissions over time.”


  5. Karen S
    The tragedy of the commons, IMO, is the trade industry that now depends on Chinese workers to make our shirts and toys…
    … Had the manufacturing stayed in America, the pollution would have fallen under the EPA.

  6. China appears to be emulating the way the UK, Germany, France, Russia, the US, and Japan treated it in the late 1800s. “We’re bigger than you, more economically powerful than you, more militarily powerful than you, more internationally influential than you, so do as we tell you, and don’t tell us what to do.” This is a very simplistic statement that fails to address all significant issues, but it is a place to start thinking.

  7. It’s one thing to say, “Mom, Kevin is picking his nose…”
    But when reporting back to mom, you had better not have your finger squarely planted up your own nose, otherwise she’s apt to say, “So are you.”

    News Flash:
    America’s carbon footprint isn’t that small…

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