presidents barack obama and Xi Jinping sign agreement to reduce carbon emissions

I know that some of you are screaming “Game changer” in response to this new carbon emissions deal between the US and China, but I’m not nearly as hopeful for a number of reasons.

One of my reasons pertains to the terms of the deal, as explained by CNN:

Under the agreement, the United States would cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26-28% before the year 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and will also aim to get 20% of its energy from zero-carbon emission sources by the same year.

So many things can happen in American partisan politics over the next ten years to make the country’s delivery of a green promise worthless. I also get the sense that Chinese politics is going to be equally unpredictable.

I would love to live in a pollution-free planet, but I can’t stop wondering what a US-China accord on carbon emissions will mean for less-prosperous nations. You should the collective reaction of countries like China, India and Nigeria when the West initially approached them to go green: “You guys already had your industrial revolution — why can’t we have ours?”

Burning coal and similar carbon-emitting methods are still the most convenient ways to create energy. And until cleaner approaches become more convenient, we’ll still have smokestacks across the globe. This means I don’t foresee the US or China making a serious commitment to reduce their carbon footprints.

But here’s an interesting question for nations of the East—if the West and China commit to making carbon emissions a distant memory and pressures other countries across the globe go green, how will you guys have your industrial revolution?

I suggest that any green sales pitch made by the US and China to developing nations is supported by an aggressive investment in local green technology. Sure, it will still sound like developing nations are receiving its orders for economic growth from established economies, but the proposed gesture is infinitely better than the pure talk that’s being offered to developing nations today…

song currently stuck in my head: “divorce” – googoosh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s