China to stress economic growth over arresting global heating

Posted on June 4, 2007

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According to Deutsche Welle this morning, the official Chinese position on economic growth and global heating is that economic growth trumps global heating.

“There is especially no research that details the economic impact of a two-degree restriction, nor what kind of influence such a target would bring on the development of each nation.” (Ma Kai, the minister of China’s key Reform and Development Commission, quoted from Deutsche Welle’s article above)

According to the IPCC report that China signed last month, the cost in global economic growth is expected to be approximately 0.12 percent growth in GDP. Note that this simply a slowdown in the current rate of growth, not an actual shrinkage in GDP.

Ma is either misinformed or is outright lying.

The Guardian Unlimited posted a related story with this quote Ma:

Ma, however, stressed that the bulk of responsibility for battling climate change still lay with industrialized countries, which “are in a better position to cap emissions.”

As these positions from China show, energy is inextricably tied to the economy, global heating, and even foreign policy. China, as the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, must start making massive cuts to its emissions of greenhouse gases just as the developed world must. Ma is correct in saying that the developed world is in a better position to cap emissions, but the developed world cannot solve the global heating problem alone. Without continuous pressure on developing nations like China and India, and without significant investment in carbon-free or carbon-neutral energy generation for developing nations, it is only a matter of time before the developed world’s ability to cut emissions is dramatically outstripped by the developing world’s emission.

[Crosspost: Dr. Slammy in 2008]

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