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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2008

Global Warming: No Kumbaya, Yet

Global warming was supposed to be such a dire problem that we would all be able to set aside our differences and figure out a solution. It’s not working out that way. Governments are still behaving like governments.

According to the Financial Times, China has now set a price for its participation in talks on global warming. China wants the developed countries to spend 1 percent of their GDPs helping poorer nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “The funding – amounting to more than $300bn (£190bn, €240bn) based on Group of Seven countries – would be spent largely on the transfer of ‘green’ technologies, such as renewable energy, to poorer countries.”

Recently, the Prime Minister of India made a similar plea for assistance for poorer countries, while noting, according to the Times of India, “that the principle of convergence of per-capita emissions of developing countries with advanced developed countries is gaining wider acceptance.” “We should recognize,” said Manmohan Singh “that each citizen of the world has equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space.”

Meanwhile, developed countries are doing some jockeying, too. Reuters reports that Italy announced this week it remains opposed to an EU climate plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a fifth by 2020. According to the Italian government, the plan would cost Italian companies 40 percent more than those of other EU countries. And in Australia, notes the New Zealand Herald, support for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s plans to control greenhouse gas emissions has faded because of concerns about the economic impact.

Any efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions that do not include China will be pointless. According to calculations by University of California researchers, the growth in China’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 will be at least five times greater than any reductions achieved by signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. But even if all the developed countries had signed and complied with Kyoto, it would have produced only a 0.15 C decrease in temperature by the end of the century. So maybe China is the country that is behaving sensibly by choosing not to cripple its economy for the sake of unnoticeable decreases in temperatures.

Posted on 10/30/08 06:14 PM by Alex Adrianson

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