China’s climate-change non-plan

The English version of China’s plan to combat climate change is here in PDF format. I haven’t read the plan itself, only news coverage surrounding it. This is representative:

While the program offered few new concrete targets for reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases that are believed to contribute to global warming, it outlined steps China would take to meet a previously announced government goal of improving overall energy efficiency in 2010 by 20 per cent over 2005’s level.

“China is a developing country. Although we do not have the obligation to cut emissions, it does not mean we do not want to shoulder our share of responsibilities,” said Ma Kai, the minister heading the National Development and Reform Commission, the cabinet-level economic planning agency.

“We must reconcile the need for development with the need for environmental protection,” he told reporters.

I’m discouraged that China’s assumption appears the same as Canada’s, the U.S.’s and Australia’s: that environmentalism is a luxury you don’t have if you’re trying to maximize your economic development, ignoring the fact that unsustainable riches are, by definition, short-term riches.

Much more on this later today.


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