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Two Cheers for China’s Climate Obstruction

Since the Copenhagen climate summit’s failure, many politicians and pundits have pointed the finger at China’s leaders for blocking a binding, global carbon-mitigation treaty. But the Chinese government’s resistance was both understandable and inevitable.

COPENHAGEN – Since the Copenhagen climate summit’s failure, many politicians and pundits have pointed the finger at China’s leaders for blocking a binding, global carbon-mitigation treaty. But the Chinese government’s resistance was both understandable and inevitable. Rather than mustering indignation, decision-makers would do well to use this as a wake-up call: it is time to consider a smarter climate policy.

China is unwilling to do anything that might curtail the economic growth that has enabled millions of Chinese to clamber out of poverty. This development can be seen in the ever-expanding Chinese domestic market.

In the next six months, one-quarter of young Chinese consumers intend to buy new cars – the main source of urban air pollution – up an astonishing 65% from a year ago. A poll by China Youth Daily revealed that eight of ten young Chinese are aware of climate change, but are prepared to support environmental policies only if they can continue to improve their living standards – including acquiring new cars.

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