Security Tops Environment in China Energy Plan

The New York Times reports:

Like the energy future that President Obama briefly described in his Oval Office address on Tuesday, the Chinese proposal calls for more reliance on renewable energy and greater emphasis on energy conservation, two drafters of the legislation said.

But because this is China, there are big differences, too. In contrast to the Obama vision, the plan here preserves a central role for coal — the dirtiest fossil fuel in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases, but a mineral that China has in abundance.

And while President Obama voiced goals of addressing climate change and improving national security at the same time, the discussions in China have been focused almost entirely on security issues, people inside and outside the government said.

In other words, as China counts on more years of global leadership in economic growth, global warming remains a secondary concern. Secure sources of energy to fuel that growth are what matter most, whatever the implications for world energy markets and the global environment — not to mention foreign investors, who may or may not have a significant role to play in China’s energy industry under the draft law.