As if responding to yesterday’s post here on Political Climate, chief negotiator Su Wei (pictured) has confirmed that China will not accept emissions caps in the foreseeable future. He restated China’s commitment to its pre-Copenhagen pledge to reduce emissions intensity.
It really doesn’t matter whether you support or are critical of China’s position. You may think China can do more and should at least sign up to a global halving of emissions by 2050. China has weighed up its options, looked at the liabilities, costs and pitfalls of being bound into emissions targets – because that’s how emissions reduction is judged – and has decided for now to stay out of the game.
So we’re faced with a choice. Either keep pushing in the hope that the Politburo (and the US Senate, for one will surely not move significantly without the other) can be made to see sense or nudged gently and incrementally upwards or start playing differently.
While China’s position is enormously complex, what matters most is its stability, which can only be maintained through continued strong economic growth and development. It is therefore in China’s interest to innovate and bring down the cost of its development. There is ample space – indeed a pressing necessity – for global cooperation to ensure innovation is pushed down a low-carbon pathway. So why not make the game about innovation – in technology as well as socially and in policy-making – rather than the setting of emissions targets?