As international diplomats gather in Bali to try to begin negotiating a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, their toughest challenge is how to deal with China’s fast rise as the world’s leading source of greenhouse gases.
At the talks, which began Dec. 3 and continue until Dec. 14, no binding agreement is likely to be reached on cutting emissions. The Bush administration refuses to consider such a pact unless China also does so and China says wealthy nations must go first. Not widely understood, however, are two underlying elements behind this conflict – the degree to which China has become the central battlefront of global warming, and the reasons why China’s government cannot make any concessions to U.S. demands. [Full Text]
Robert Collier is a visiting scholar at the Center for Environmental Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He is writing a book about China and global warming for University of California Press.
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