Can The Last Be First?

China has pledged to cut greenhouse emissions but argued it was not “fair” for developing nations to be required to meet the same standards of emission reduction as those required of economically advanced societies. Ma Kai, Minister of the National Development & Reform Committee argued it was “too early and too blunt” for the world to impose emission caps on China.

The Chinese government certainly raises valid points concerning what must be done by nations of the world after a minority of nations have polluted the atmosphere over the past few hundred years in their quest for economic growth. Should nations like China or India be held to the same standards of responsibility as the US or England or Germany or France? My problem with the Minister’s argument is that China today is far from a “developing economy.” It is now right up there with the other economically advanced societies and it must take action quickly since in the coming decade at least another 200 million Chinese people will enter the middle class together with at least 150 million people in India. The cars these 350 million people drive will have a devastating impact on global warming. China is no Jordan or Bolivia; it is a major polluter and must take action today.
China Daily June 4, 2007 “Action Plan Aims to Cut Gas Emissions”