Tag Archives: China

Talks about talks

The Durban climate summit produced a surprise (or at least a surprise for natural pessimists like me…). A consensus agreement has been reached to open a new phase of negotiations, to be finished by 2015 at the latest, with targets for all countries kicking in from 2020. Given initial positions of the most powerful actors, this outcome looks Continue reading



Filed under China, Durban, US

A climate of populism?

A little while back Andrew picked up on an FT piece warning that technocratic elites should take notice of the possibility of  a populist backlash. The current issue of Foreign Affairs (behind paywall) contains a couple of excellent analyses that drill further down into this theme, and carry some important implications for climate policy.

Walter Russell Mead places the American Tea Party  movement in historical context, and explores the challenges it poses to US policy makers trying to follow a liberal internationalist agenda. He identifies the Tea Partyers as latter-day “Jacksonian” populists, named after the original 19th C populist President Andrew Jackson (no, not that Jackson!). As Mead explains: Continue reading


Filed under China, Climate deniers, Populism, US

Why we need a fair trade campaign for carbon

For many commentators in the wake of Copenhagen, China became the scapegoat for the failure to secure a meaningful and binding agreement. But one reason for China’s resistance to international climate treaties is that they measure emissions (and therefore required emissions cuts) on a national production basis, not consumption, and so ignore the carbon imbedded in the huge imports of goods from China to the West (especially the US).

On this issue they have a point – Continue reading


Filed under China, Consumption

Feeling the Stones

Deng Xiaoping (pictured) famously advocated a pragmatic approach to progress. ‘Cross the river by feeling the stones‘ he said. Is this cautious view of change in any way compatible with the measures needed to decarbonise economies?

We ask this because there is quite clearly a significant gap between the positions of the US and China in relation to the Copenhagen Accord. There’s a fair amount of debate concerning the semantics of the language of association or support. Continue reading

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