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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.
Once again the G8 has come up tragically short on climate change and a host of urgent problems affecting poor people in developing countries. The good news is that they are at least discussing the right topics. The first Hokkaido G8 document, on the World Economy spills lots of ink on relations between rich and developing economies, including for example, reaffirmation of support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Boy, those folks at the World Bank sure can do process! Hot off the printer, the bank proposal for a so-called "Clean Technology Fund (CTF)" prepared for a meeting next week includes pages and pages of verbiage on process. On page 14 they finally get around to saying how the money would be spent. Read it and weep:
Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its long-awaited Fourth Assessment Report. This is a major event, because the Report strengthens the scientific consensus about the threat from global warming if we don't curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Twenty years ago this month I left China under less than ideal circumstances: I was one of a handful of reporters expelled during a crackdown on the incipient student democracy movement. After a dozen years of close involvement with China, first as a student, then as a tour guide, and finally as a journalist, I was suddenly cut off from the country, unable to return.