On the heels of Bush’s bluster of the week, China today released its first comprehensive plan for climate change. But as the NY Times reports, it too isn’t much to sing about. Said Ma Kai, head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission:
Our general stance is that China will not commit to any quantified emissions reduction targets, but that does not mean we will not assume responsibilities in responding to climate change.
Thus, the plan calls for improving energy efficiency, but doesn’t include any hard caps on carbon emissions.
This is pretty scary news, since by now we all know that no matter what the rest of the world does, we sink or swim with the decisions of China, and in the near future, India. On one hand, it’s hard to blame China for protecting its booming economic growth — after all, per capita, China still consumes only a fraction of the energy we do. On the other hand, the rationale seems myopic at best. Said Ma:
The ramifications of limiting the development of developing countries would be even more serious than those from climate change.
But with experts predicting vast numbers of climate refugees from the Yellow River basin due to shrinking glaciers, a sharp decline in arable land, and consequent overcrowding of the cities (with no food to eat), it’s hard to imagine what that “more serious” would look like.