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China pushing back on EU?

12/09/09

–Keelin Kelly, Castle Rock, CO

Considering how progressive the EU is concerning climate policy, it comes as quite a shock that China is demanding the EU do more to reduce emissions. This call by China primarily appears to be a reaction to the fact the EU has recently called for wealthier developing nations like China to agree to cuts. China is clearly uncomfortable with the demand and has turned the responsibility for serious reductions back on the EU and other developed nations.

In some respects, China’s position appears reasonable—considering it has contributed very little to historic emissions it seems unfair for China to carry the burden of binding reductions. However, the nation also must develop sustainably and leave the U.S. and E.U.’s carbon intensive growth trajectory. Perhaps, binding targets would help China become more sustainable.

It is clear from this dispute, and many others like it, that no country wants to be saddled with a heavy burden of significant reductions. From the perspective of every country this is quite reasonable. However, from the perspective of the collective it is not. If nations do not begin to drastically cut emissions now, the human race is doomed in the long run.

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