China’s Meaningless Commitment to “Legally Binding” Climate Change Obligations
Following up on Dan Bodansky’s excellent post, and our interesting discussion here on MEAs, I wanted to point readers to this useful report from Durban by Reason’s science correspondent Ronald Bailey. Bailey has a very useful breakdown on why China’s supposed shift on its views on a new climate change treaty is really meaningless. Here is his summary of China’s “breakthrough” position:
So here’s what China apparently wants the rest of the world to do: (1) agree that China’s greenhouse gas targets can be different from those imposed on rich countries, (2) agree that for the next 9 years rich countries will continue to cut their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol while China’s continue to grow, (3) agree that no negotiations take place on targets until a scientific review is finished in 2015, and (4) agree that rich countries begin showering poor countries with $100 billion in climate reparations annually. If the rich countries will just do that, China will consent to begin negotiating some kind of “legally binding” treaty after 2020. Frankly, with these preconditions, it seems that China’s current position actually remains pretty much what it has always been: It will accept legally binding limits on its greenhouse gas emissions when Hell freezes over.