Please, take this rather sarcastic post with a grain of salt. If you’re offended, feel free to explain why in the comments. Also, my use of “China” here is obviously shorthand for the people being discussed in the article, and not the entirety of the Chinese government or all of China in general.
I just saw this story in the NYT (via CDT) Apparently things aren’t going well in Copenhagen:
Chinese negotiators have said little during formal negotiation sessions here, where they have been working in partnership with the developing countries. They have made clear that they do not expect money from the industrial powers to help make the shift to a more energy-efficient economy.
But they will not accept any outside monitors to ensure that they are indeed making the changes that they have promised to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants emitted per unit of economic output.
“I think there’s no doubt that China, when it says 40 to 45 percent reduction in energy intensity, is serious about that,” said Ed Miliband, the British secretary of state for energy and climate change. “The more challenging hurdle is finding a formula for ensuring the outside world that an avoided ton of gas is in fact a ton.”
He Yafei, the Chinese vice foreign minister, said China’s laws would guarantee compliance.
“This is a matter of principle,” even if it scuttles the talks, he said in an interview with The Financial Times.
Ah yes, a matter of principle. Because principle is going to stop the polar ice caps from melting. Apparently it’s the lack of principle that keeps my lungs clogged up every time I set foot in Beijing.
Shanghai Scrap says the quote is taken out-of-context, but learning the real context only makes it look worse. This is, as I understand it, a meeting that’s meant to produce global cooperation on climate change, in the hopes that when our kids have kids, the world might look something like what it does now. China is standing on “principle” and refusing to allow anyone to verify or monitor the measures they’re promising to implement. Why?
The first, obvious, and perhaps only response is fear. Fear that any attempts by foreigners to look at anything inside China ever are ultimately going to turn into imperialist invasions like the Western allied invasion of China after the Boxer rebellion. You know what, China? Get over it.
That your paranoia affects my ability to check Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Danwei, the CDT, etc. etc. whenever I’m in China, I can handle. But this kind of “principle” affects everyone in the world. It is in no way a Chinese internal affair, and should not be treated as such (just as it shouldn’t be treated as such in any country). Please, do the world a favor, stop acting like a petulant child, and let’s all get moving on this saving-the-world thing. My lungs thank you in advance.