The Fundamental Issue Posted by jfleck on 24 April 2007, 9:20 am This map from Platts says it all. You can’t make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions without tackling the China problem.
Check out Larry Summers’ take on this. The important point he raises, is that although China and India will have to take action, Euorope, the US and Japan will have to provide support, e.g. $.
On responsibility… Cumulative emissions from fossil fuel combustion by the US over the last 100 years is nearly 4 times that of China over the same period. And, while China’s national rate of emissions will surpass the US’s within a few years, its per capita emissions will not – when/if they will is anyone’s guess. What’s more, China’s 100-yr cumulative emissions will not surpass the US’s in a few years either.
Should action be based on a per nation or a per capita basis? And who is responsible for driving this action, given the impacts already meted out, and to be meted out, by historical emissions? Climate change doesn’t depend on rates of emissions, but on cumulative emissions over the lifetime of the GHGs in the atmos.
…and should the wealthier countries with (presumably) more resilience bear the responsibility to take more action?
If some arguments are to be believed, then increasing wealth is a worthy goal. Wealthy nations are already there and should help other nations achieve wealth.
In cooperative societies, this would ring true.
I wonder how much goods for export comes into the equation? All (most?) countries produce for export, but China does seem to massively do so. Should emissions from this be counted as emissions in the producing or consuming country? There is some ambiguity in where the benefit of the production goes, especially if the production is owned/run/paid for by a multinational, and China is picked to make use of low labour costs.