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Chinese Climate Negotiator Provides Candid Take on What Happened in Copenhagen

If emissions increase "I say, 'So what?' The people have a right to a better life."

By Guest Writer

Aug 29, 2010

During my three years working on climate change, I have reached some personal conclusions. Concern about climate change and China’s role must be seen against the background of China’s economic and social development. China’s national circumstances cannot be ignored. China is bound to be dependent on coal for energy – we cannot afford oil as an alternative when it costs more than US$100 dollars (680 yuan) a barrel. We have factors limiting our development, and the price and opportunity costs of energy saving and emissions reduction must be taken into account and stable development continued. Many problems can only be solved through development.

We cannot blindly accept that protecting the climate is humanity’s common interest – national interests should come first. Individual enthusiasm and willingness to make sacrifice for the sake of the climate is worthy of respect and praise. I myself usually walk or take the bus to work. The individual can choose not to drive, but China cannot choose not to have an automobile industry. The individual can save power, but there are 600 million people in India without electricity – the country has to develop and meet that need. And if that increases emissions, I say, “So what?” The people have a right to a better life.

I once pointed out to an academic from a developed nation that the emissions resulting from their country’s two-car households had been accumulating in the atmosphere for decades. Many Chinese households have only just purchased their first car and they tell us we should ride bikes? It doesn’t make sense. We want to develop the economy until everyone has the option of buying a vehicle, but at the same time use taxation and subsidies to encourage the purchase of low-emission vehicles and the use of public transport.

When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, we cannot only look at the current situation and ignore history, nor look at overall emissions and ignore per capita figures. China’s accumulated emissions account for only 7% of the global total. Emissions are caused by consumption of energy, and this is the foundation of social development. As a Chinese person, I cannot accept someone from a developed nation having more right than me to consume energy. We are all created equal – this is no empty slogan. The Americans have no right to tell the Chinese that they can only consume 20% as much energy. We do not want to pollute as they did, but we have the right to pursue a better life.

The public relations efforts of developed nations on climate change are always more effective than ours, but it is more important to look at their actual actions. Overall, when you look at the facts, there is a huge difference between what is said and what is done.

Some EU nations have done well on emissions reductions, but the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Spain and Italy have not just failed to make cuts – they have significantly increased their emissions. And they do not seem to feel they have done anything wrong.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been in place for almost two decades, and it has achieved next to nothing. Traditional development aid has been repackaged as aid for climate change. Transfers of technology have not been effectively carried out, with some developed nations even hoping to use the technology they control to turn a profit.

Some ask why China cannot do more public relations work. I think there is a cultural difference here, a characteristic of the nation: we would rather get actual work done than make boastful statements.

Yu Qingtai was appointed China’s special representative for climate change negotiations in 2007, when he was serving as ambassador to Tanzania. He attended the Bali, Poznan and Copenhagen conferences, as well as many other climate-change negotiations. He was recently appointed ambassador to the Czech Republic.

(Republished with permission of )

"Transfers of technology

"Transfers of technology have not been effectively carried out, with some developed nations even hoping to use the technology they control to turn a profit."

Are you kidding me? They ALL are trying to control green tech in order to turn a profit. Al Gore's company is positioned to become the biggest green investment firm in the world. This is going to be achieved by controlling the technology, not giving it away. Where have you ever seen countries give new technologies away for free? I have not seen any country, developed or undeveloped, do this. There is no habit in human nature which would indicate that this will ever happen. The habit is to give it away for money, lots of money.

Cheer up. The climate change scare is over.

mememine You mean now that

mememine

You mean now that the science is stronger than ever?

If you want fear mongering, return to Fox News, where you can pick which group to fear or hate this week.

What good does a hate-filled

What good does a hate-filled comment like that do for anyone?

The CO2 MISTAKE

Anyone who supported the Climate Change mistake after 24 years of needless panic was an unconscionable fear mongering liar. Climate Change was the very measure and litmus test of honesty and virtue. To have wished for the CO2 mistake to have been true was sick and inhuman. History has a special place for you intellectual fossils and witch burners of climate change.
You tried like cowards to scare our kids and it is they who are now leading the wave of denier rage and payback. Climate Change was environMENTALism’s Iraq War of lies and WMD’s and had done to science, media and liberalism what Bush did to conservatism. Climate Changers were fear mongering neocons of environmentalism.

Good grief. What good does a

Good grief. What good does a hate-filled comment like that do for anyone?

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