First green superpower?
I am interrupting my blogging holiday to publish a couple of links to a thought-provoking items of Christmas television (one today and one tomorrow). First up, an item re-broadcast on the BBC News Channel on Monday: First broadcast in June 2011, it features Justin Rowlatt (who attempted to live a fossil fuel free existence for a year in 2006 as the BBC’s Ethical Man) visiting China to see how it intends to become the world’s first green superpower.
In this 22-minute programme, Justin reviews the content of China’s latest 5 year plan, which acknowledges that climate change arises out of development and therefore must be solved along with development see here for link). However, although China has set itself challenging targets for reducing the carbon intensity of its emissions (CO2/GDP), it has no plans to reduce its emissions or to stop burning coal in anything less than 20 years.
Such plans will therefore not impress James Hansen or the International Energy Agency. However, China must be given credit for acknowledging that climate change represents an existential threat to its own survival; and therefore deciding to take action: It is very impressive to see how the Chinese see investment in renewable energy as a self-help exercise; and a business opportunity.
It must therefore be hoped that, in 2012, the rest of the World will follow their lead. At very least – and despite its ongoing emissions – we should stop using China as an excuse for our own refusal to accept that urgent action must now be taken by everybody…
My second item (and definitely my final thought for the year) will be posted tomorrow.