Before a large international audience in
If only that were true. Just two days later, the
Pious official proclamations for foreign audiences are quite common in China. In the spring, Premier
China is addicted to coal. Already it acquires 70 percent of its energy from burning coal, and it's building new coal-fired power plants at a breakneck pace.
This year, southern China battled a torrid heat wave, pushing the burgeoning middle class to buy and use more and more air conditioners. A
Doesn't anyone see the paradox?
Meantime, the United States is no saint.
Almost 45 percent of the nation's energy comes from burning coal -- a figure that the government projects will remain relatively stable in the years ahead. Late last week, Senate Democrats announced that they would not take up climate-change legislation this year, which means, given the politics of the moment, that the bill is effectively dead. Still, the Energy Information agency projects that greenhouse-gas emissions will increase by just two-tenths of 1 percent a year in the U.S. -- and 2.7 percent in China, 13 times more.
So what does all of this mean? The rest of the world, 194 of the 195 nations, could meet the most aggressive climate-change goals imaginable -- pull greenhouse-gas emissions back to 1970s levels -- and it would make little difference as long as China heedlessly burns more and more coal.
Glaciers would continue to melt, river levels would continue to fall, heat waves would grow more commonplace. All because of China. And if you read what the Chinese say among themselves, they revel in their coal culture.
A few weeks ago, the
The truth is, China doesn't really want to change. Pan
By then it will be too late.
Available at Amazon.com:
- The Fight Escalates Against Fake Drugs
- China's Coal Addiction
- Afghanistan: The Pentagon's Lost War
- Afghanistan: The Cost of Nation Building
- Afghanistan: Pentagon Papers Redux?
- Behind Iraq's Long Political Indecision
- Venezuela - Colombia Spat to Pass, Return
- Will China Rule the World?
- NATO's Future Involves More Global Partnerships
- Gloom Awaits U.S. Climate Diplomacy
- U.S. - U.K.: Difficult Duet in Afghanistan
- 'Pariah of the Pacific' Has Ham-handed Grip on Fiji
- Turkey Takes the Veil
- For Israel a Two-State Proposal Starts With Security
- Is It Too Late to Stop Iran
- The Middle East's Private Little War
- Reality and Reform for How the EU Keeps Its Peace
- Chancellor Angela Merkel's Sinking Support
- The Real Reason Why Afghanistan Is a Lost Cause
- The War Drones On
- When the 'Right War' Goes Wrong
- The Afghanistan Paradox
- Pakistan's Gambit in Afghanistan
- Obama Wasting Opportunities in Latin America
- Stopping Nuclear Proliferation Before It Starts
- Veiled Truths: The Rise of Political Islam in the West
- Steps to Stop Iran From Getting a Nuclear Bomb
- Iran: The Nuclear Containment Conundrum
- Iran: The Right Kind Of Containment
- China Is the Key to Handling Nuclear North Korea
- Coping With China's Financial Power
- What China's Currency Reform Means For Investors
- Russian-American Obstacles Overshadow Obama-Medvedev Meeting
- Russia's Courtship of Silicon Valley
- Ukrainian Blues: Viktor Yanukovych's Rise and Democracy's Fall
- Russia: Prisoners of the Caucasus
- The Afghan Challenge Is Far Tougher
- New Guard, Old Policy on Afghanistan
- Fear and Uncertainty in Afghanistan
- Afghanistan: Bribing the Enemy
- Afghanistan Poses Difficult Challenges
- Defining Success in Afghanistan
- Sad Stan, Famous Petraeus
- The Challenge of Reconciliation in Kenya
- The Tyranny of Unity in Zimbabwe
- Mexico: The New Cocaine Cowboys
- Under Santos Colombia Could Rise to the Next Level
- Autocrats' Latest Weapon: Indirect Censorship
- Latin America's Rich Should Be More Generous
- Castrocare in Crisis
(C) 2010 Joel Brinkley