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December 22, 2009

Lefty Journalist: The Chinese Killed Copenhagen

Writing in The Guardian, Mark Lynas doesn’t think that’s a good thing but it’s still an interesting story.

To those who would blame Obama and rich countries in general, know this: it was China's representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal. "Why can't we even mention our own targets?" demanded a furious Angela Merkel. Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone. Brazil's representative too pointed out the illogicality of China's position. Why should rich countries not announce even this unilateral cut? The Chinese delegate said no, and I watched, aghast, as Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point. Now we know why – because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord's lack of ambition.

China, backed at times by India, then proceeded to take out all the numbers that mattered. A 2020 peaking year in global emissions, essential to restrain temperatures to 2C, was removed and replaced by woolly language suggesting that emissions should peak "as soon as possible". The long-term target, of global 50% cuts by 2050, was also excised. No one else, perhaps with the exceptions of India and Saudi Arabia, wanted this to happen. I am certain that had the Chinese not been in the room, we would have left Copenhagen with a deal that had environmentalists popping champagne corks popping in every corner of the world.

At least now I know where to send a thank you note.

Seems China isn’t all that excited about letting their debtors commit fiscal suicide before they pay up. Kind of sad when the ChiComs have a better handle on the fundamentals of economics than the so-called leaders of the free world.

Lynas also writes about how the Chinese sent a minor functionary to represent them in a meeting that was attended by Obama and several other mere mortal heads of state. The arrogance!

See the Chinese think this is their world and they aren’t going to put up with any of this international community crap.

Copenhagen was much worse than just another bad deal, because it illustrated a profound shift in global geopolitics. This is fast becoming China's century, yet its leadership has displayed that multilateral environmental governance is not only not a priority, but is viewed as a hindrance to the new superpower's freedom of action. I left Copenhagen more despondent than I have felt in a long time. After all the hope and all the hype, the mobilisation of thousands, a wave of optimism crashed against the rock of global power politics, fell back, and drained away.

I always used to laugh when lefties would complain about how America ‘rules the world’. It always seemed to me that if we were really as bad as they claimed we were, they’d really be unhappy. Well, if China does become the sole superpower, we going to see what a real despotic global power looks like.


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posted by DrewM. at 06:34 PM

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