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China recently announced it will reduce the emissions-intensity of its economy (ratio of emissions to GDP) by at least 40-45 percent by 2020. But in Copenhagen it is resisting making that promise an internationally binding commitment. That’s a big problem for the U.S. negotiators, since the Congress is adamant: the U.S. will not commit until and unless the Chinese do too.
Yesterday I sent this letter to CGD contacts who have expressed an interest in our work on development and climate change. But it really should be of interest to all in the development community. If you share my view that climate and development are inextricably intertwined, please read on, take the survey, and tell your friends to take it, too!
Development advocates hoping for an equitable as well as efficient global agreement on climate change ought to be deeply depressed about the results of a recent FT/Harris poll. What is depressing is the way the question was framed (and that does matter): “Do you agree that, since China is the biggest carbon emitter, it should cut its emissions the most?” In most G-7 countries including the U.S., more than 60 percent of respondents agreed.
As part of an ongoing effort to persuade the leaders of the G-20 countries to better address the needs of poor countries in their Summit, CGD president Nancy Birdsall visited Pittsburgh yesterday with a small band of CGDers in tow, myself included.
Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.