As Copenhagen withered and the world woke up to it as a failure, most who believe in Climate Change turned to a familiar deer in their sights; the west.
The industrialised world it seemed had hijacked the talks against poor nations, like China (?!?). Which heads the G77 grouping of developing nations. This is a line which should be familiar to anyone who knows the climate discourse in Europe and the west. But China’s positioning as both a ‘developing’ nation and a UNSC seat holder and big player/super power just don’t seem to work that well.
It was apparently China who refused to include targets in the resolution angering many leaders and refusing along with India to set a target of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 c. Further there is a claim that they have a ‘right’ to emit in order to grow. Yet in the next breath they will berate western nations, who 300 years ago decided to burn coal in order to power machines. There appear double standards that attempt to hide an apathy towards the victims of climate change.
If it is all the west’s fault because they did something bad, then China and India shouldn’t follow suit and copy them by demanding a ‘right to emit’, if we all have a ‘right to emit’ then sorry, the recourse to historcism that the west should pay is ludicrous as they had a right to do so. If we consider Chindia’s population and combined economic growth, when they at some point consider themselves ‘developed’ who are they going to have to ‘pay’? A ridiculous notion…
If we accept the science that climate change will destroy the progress and life of our planet we need to accept that change needs to come from all who want to industrialise as well as those who are already industrialised because China, as the world’s largest emitter as it stands will be key as it grows at such a rapid rate. ‘Chindia’ will also hold millions of people who will suffer immensely from the ravages of climate change, as we have already seen in India where a lack of water and flooding are causing severe problems, that will only get worse.
It is not to say that western leaders are not at fault Australia has struggled as has the US, but Obama it seems was by no means entirely at fault having put his neck on the line for the issue. The growth paradigm that Chindia now seems enthralled by is a western notion and it is this which is at fault, but it is a notion adopted and phased into enormity by Chindia.
It may be that Chindia’s leaders, like many right wing western leaders don’t believe in climate change, in which case we are all doomed for there is no hope of seeing the back of them anytime soon or any real civil society pressure and lobbying as in the west, but it is a shame that super powers are shirking the responsibility they have towards their own citizens and those of the world in such a manner, which plays between one moment pleading under development and the next utilisng their status as ’superpowers’. In the next decade China’s economy could double in size and island nations such as the Maldives could disappear, ie no economic growth, no economy-no life. If Chindia are serious about their super power status’ they should show leadership instead of just blaming the west, leadership and innovation to solve the problem for the century which should ‘belong’ to them but could very well be the century in which the earth ceases to be the benign home we now enjoy.