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posted by n1 on Thursday September 25 2014, @05:05PM   Printer-friendly
from the obama-sharing-world-leadership-with-china dept.

The NYT reports that President Obama spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Summit and challenged China to make the same effort to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions and join a worldwide campaign to curb global warming. Obama's words were directly focused on putting the onus on China, an essential partner of the United States if a global climate treaty is to be negotiated by 2015. The United States and China bear a “special responsibility to lead,” said Obama, “That’s what big nations have to do.” The United States, Obama said, would meet a pledge to reduce its carbon emissions by 17 percent, from 2005 levels, by 2020—a goal that is in large part expected to be met through proposed EPA regulation.

There were indications that China might be ready with its own plan, although many experts say they will be skeptical until Chinese officials reveal the details. A senior Chinese official said his country would try to reach a peak level of carbon emissions “as early as possible.” That suggested that the Chinese government, struggling with air pollution so extreme that it has threatened economic growth, regularly kept millions of children indoors and ignited street protests, was determined to show faster progress in curbing emissions. In recent years, the Chinese government has sent other signals about addressing carbon pollution, some of them encouraging to environmental experts. “Five years ago, it was almost unimaginable to discuss China putting a cap on carbon, but now that is happening,” said Lo Sze Ping, chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund’s office in Beijing. “Chinese leaders have seen that it is imperative to move toward a low-carbon economy.”

 
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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by MrGuy on Thursday September 25 2014, @05:15PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Thursday September 25 2014, @05:15PM (#98325)

    Because of course the Chinese will be much more likely to adopt a policy if it's seen as caving to foreign pressure on its internal affairs.

    Don't get me wrong - a climate treaty is necessary, and China's involvement is critical to success. But to call the Chinese out publicly on a policy objective they're potentially pursuing already? Why on earth would you do something that's likely to INCREASE, not decrease, the internal resistance to your plan?

    Diplomacy isn't about being right - it's about being effective. It seems like less public negotiation would be more likely to accomplish your goal than chiding someone who's help you really need from the floor of the UN.

    American politicians simply do not understand how to work with China.

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  • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Thursday September 25 2014, @07:02PM

    by Blackmoore (57) on Thursday September 25 2014, @07:02PM (#98367) Journal

    And bad diplomacy too; I expect that China told Obama that they had a plan - but expected a hard time to get the wealthy to play along (China's wealthy seem to have a separate set of rules)

    If China doesnt have a plan - I'd be surprised. They've been putting real efforts into PV solar and wind - and reduced coal usage (albeit by a few measly percent) but it would take a 5 year plan to finance and build up electric plants that pollute less. (please note that no place in my expectations would i see China dumping coal)

    • (Score: 2) by khallow on Friday September 26 2014, @02:06AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 26 2014, @02:06AM (#98460) Journal

      I expect that China told Obama that they had a plan - but expected a hard time to get the wealthy to play along

      Which would indicate that the Chinese leadership weren't remotely serious. They can make the wealthy poor instantly, if they so choose. Nobody will long stand in the way of anything that becomes deemed a national priority.

      • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Friday September 26 2014, @03:09PM

        by Blackmoore (57) on Friday September 26 2014, @03:09PM (#98588) Journal

        If this was 10 years ago I'd agree. but now I'm not so sure that the rich in China have no sway on policy. Pity. i'd love to be able to put a fire under the rich and bring them to a positive action. but no, they own the US.

  • (Score: 1) by Jiro on Thursday September 25 2014, @08:00PM

    by Jiro (3176) on Thursday September 25 2014, @08:00PM (#98385)

    The idea is not to actually work with China, the idea is to make something that gains him political capital among his supporters in the US.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday September 26 2014, @02:19AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Friday September 26 2014, @02:19AM (#98464) Homepage

      Unfortunately, I think you're absolutely correct. :(

      As Sir Garlon says, it's hardly unique among world leaders, but he does have a special talent for it.

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Thursday September 25 2014, @08:01PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Thursday September 25 2014, @08:01PM (#98386)

    American politicians simply do not understand how to work with China.

    True, but generally public statements are made more for domestic consumption than for foreigners. What I mean by that is that by putting public pressure on China about greenhouse gases, Obama can curry favor with environmentalists at home without needing to actually produce results. If China doesn't comply with his arbitrary demands, well, China is to blame!

    That kind of posturing is not unique to Obama. All kinds of world leaders do it all the time.

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.