A Los Angeles Times editorial argues that President Barack Obama’s plans to fight climate change with new green infrastructure projects at home will do little good unless China is willing to drastically reduce its carbon footprint as well:
Each country tends to blame the other for the problem; China points out that the U.S. is historically the world’s biggest contributor to greenhouse gas concentrations and says it should be free to industrialize just as the U.S. was, and the U.S. says imposing carbon controls here would give China a competitive economic advantage. Working together, the two countries could improve economic prospects for both while disadvantaging neither. The global economic crisis, meanwhile, presents an opportunity for both countries to invest in projects that cut carbon and create jobs.
In the next year, there will be much talk of a successor to the Kyoto Protocol global climate agreement, but a bilateral effort by the U.S. and China is arguably more important. Obama should see that it happens.