China 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.