Comments on the comments by hc on my earlier comments on “US climate change bill – how international provisions work”, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/07/10/us-climate-change-bill-how-international-provisions-work/
hc, I understand your point that China will need to and must join the international efforts in the fight to limit global warming. However, you say that the lead time of 2020 gives China the change to do something. I was not talking about China only. I was talking about the whole issue, that includes how the US has behaved itself until a few months ago and how it intends to behave towards others, that is one. If you say it is not bully, then what is bully? Is there any agreeable definition of bully? Is that because the US is so strong that other people cannot openly say it is bullying if it is doing it? Let's be fair to everyone, including ourselves, alright?
Secondly, it is not just China, there are so many developing economies. China has been singled out by you probably because you think China's emissions are so large. That is a fair point and I don't disagree with you on that. But why didn't you mention how much China's emissions are on a per person basis, and compare that with those in the US or in Australia? Why don't you ask for the US and Australia and for that matter every OECD country to reduce their emissions to the Chinese per capita level first? Then ask China to begin its reduction in line with others?
Is there any conspiracy against the Chinese in terms of their rapid economic growth by some people, so an unfair or unequal playing field is created for China in terms of reducing greenhouse emissions to limit and slow its rapid growth, so it would be poor forever without joining the rich club in which the US and Australia belong? In this regard, China is only one of the fast growing developing countries that also have a considerable size. They may be against many countries.
Are we afraid that the past poor people will be joining in our ranks so to diminish our glories?
You talk about the internalisation of an externality. Yes, that is a very good point. The question I have for you is that why don't say the externality in terms of per capita emissions? Why don't you say the externality in terms of historical contributions of emissions by the rich countries? And the externality they cause to other poor countries over so many years?
You talk about that the adverse equity effects can be addressed. That is also correct, and that is my central point. However, does the US bill talk and address those adverse equity effects? Does it talk about the per capita equity and historical equity at all?
I am not against the US recent efforts. I think its efforts need to be congratulated.
However, the international community needs to stand up for justice, for rich and for poor countries equally, and for powerful and weak countries equally.
We should not just simply follow the superpower and become the coalition of the "willing" to blindly do whatever the superpower wants us to do. We especially need to stand up for the poor and weak countries when they are treated unfairly by the most powerful countries.
Many people understand the issue of externality and free lunch and how they work. Those theories are no longer the monopoly of the rich. The poor also can apply it. Isn't it the case the US was having free lunch after the Kyoto? Why does it suddenly wake up to this externality issue now? Why don't you mention these?