China: Pessimism, skepticism and concern over Copenhagen

At the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference now into day 6 in Copenhagen, leaks of competing texts have been followed by Chinese delegates talking tough to representatives from the US to island nations such as Tuvalu, with a proposal from the latter for a Copenhagen Protocol to include stricter emission caps on larger developing nations.

Meanwhile, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs He Yafei had sharp words for U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern regarding news that China won't be receiving any portion of America's climate bailout funds.

How will China maintain its current level of economic growth and reduce carbon emissions at the same time? GVO's on the scene at #COP15 as are, covering the issues relating to China, @adanylkiw, @maoz, @GreenLeapFwd, @greenlawchina, @chinayouthcop15, among others.

Blogging in Chinese from Copenhagen are people from Sohu, Greenpeace China, who are also microblogging the event, QQ, Greenlaw, chinadialogue, The Green Leap Forward and students of renowned journalist and editor Hu Shuli.

Top Chinese negotiator, Su Wei

Greenpeace China volunteer Maoz Li has released her Flickr photos from the conference under a Creative Commons license.

The plight of future climate refugees such as the inhabitants of Tuvalu, a frightening reminder of which was delivered yesterday when people noticed several endangered Pacific island nations had been left off a prominent globe placed at the summit, has been amply covered on Chinese blogs. Writing at Sohu, the OxfamVIP blogger notes:

我在想,Tuvalu会被海水浸没已是不争事实。对他们岛国的寿命,升温是1.5度还是2度,差别可能只是几年的事。那为什麽他们还要来到这去参与会议和抗议呢? 这不但浪费金钱,又浪费时间。

在场内,Tuvalu带领全场齐喊口号,每一个人都表现得非常投入和激动。Tuvalu让我们看见危机; Tuvalu让我们居安思危; Tuvalu让我们看见勇气; Tuvalu让我们团结。今天Tuvalu不是一个孤独的小岛,而是一个世界。

I've been thinking, that whether Tuvalu will be submerged isn't even up for debate. For the fate of these island nations, the difference between an increase in temperature of 1.5 or 2 degrees is only a matter of a few years. So why should they still have to come take part in this meeting and protest? It's not just a waste of their money, it's also a waste of their time.

Inside the meeting, Tuvalu is leading the entire hall in chanting slogans and everyone is extremely enthusiastic and passionate about it. Tuvalu lets us see the crisis; Tuvalu shows that now is the time for action; Tuvalu shows us bravery; Tuvalu shows us solidarity. Today, Tuvalu isn't just a solitary island nation, it's the world.

On that, NetEase blogger Raytime writes:




Copenhagen is just a stage, being performed on it is an ugly performance in the face of imminent disaster.

When the representative from the Pacific island of Fiji broke into tears in the middle of her speech, what she saw before her were the indifferent faces from China and America.

I don't agree with China's position; although my opinion is but a drop of water in a rainstorm, the price that China and the world will have to pay are inversely proportional to the tiny one I will.

中国承诺在2020年将单位GDP能耗降低40%,听起来似乎冠冕堂皇、豪言壮语,但实际上呢,因为中国的GDP在持续高增长,碳排放一点也不会减少,到 2040年,中国的碳排放将达到峰值。即使单位GDP碳排放下降,但碳排放的总值却成倍增长,全球变暖的趋势更加严峻。到2040年的时候,太平洋岛国将沉没,北极熊与企鹅将灭绝,而中国也得不到什么好处,一旦上海被海水淹没,中国几十年的发展成果将被抵销;西部高原的的积雪溶化后先是洪水泛滥,然后是江河枯竭。

中国在哥本哈根的理由异常邪恶,可以说中国从来没有像现在这么邪恶。为了自己国家的发展,不惜以其他国家的灭绝为代价。这就好比自己家房子要扩建,就不惜推倒邻居家的房子。中国说发达国家在发展的时候曾经高排放,所以现在我要发展,就不能避免高排放。这就好比说既然你曾经杀人放火,我就得杀人放火。发达国家在工业化革命的时候,世界人口远远没有现在这么多,大家也跟本意识不到树几个烟囱就能让地球变暖,就能带来灾害。现在中国明明知道碳排放的危害,却仍然放任在2040年之前让自己国家的碳排放成倍增长。看看我们挂军队牌号的车辆,全是高排放的豪华越野车。昨天我在高速公路上楞是看到一辆挂鲁O牌号的奥迪 Q7,这位公务员的屁股就这么尊贵吗,坐着一百四五十万的豪车招摇过市,在下雨的晚上车速超过一百六。中国厅局级以上干部的坐驾赶得上世界绝大多数国家的总统坐驾了,而中国仍然在哥本哈根恬不知耻的坚持高排放,并称毫无谈判余地。哥本哈根面临的问题根本就不是发展问题,而是60多亿人还能不能继续在这个地球上存活的问题,中国的发展问题会比这个前提更优先吗,让中国公务员的屁股从奥迪Q7的座椅上挪一挪就那么难吗?

China has pledged to reduce energy consumption per GDP unit by 40% by 2020; it sounds great, impressive, but realistically, as China's GDP will continue to grow, carbon emissions won't decrease a bit; by 2040, China's carbon emissions will have peaked. Even if per unit GDP carbon emissions do go down, total carbon emissions will increase severalfold, and trends of global warming will be all the more severe.

By 2040, the Pacific island nations will have been submerged, polar bears and penguins will have gone extinct, and China won't have benefited at all: once Shanghai goes underwater, several decades of China's development will disappear with it. Melting snow in the western plateaus will give way to massive flooding, then the rivers will go dry.

China's reasons for going to Copenhagen are exceptionally wicked. You can say that China has never been this wicked before. At the cost of its own growth, it won't hesitate to let other countries perish. This is like saying you want to build an addition onto your house, and to do so you have to knock down your neighbor's house. China says that developed countries, during your development, were heavy emitters, so now that I want to develop, I can't avoid these heavy emissions. Which is like saying that seeing as since you used to kill people and commit arson, I might as well kill people and commit arson too.

During the industrial revolution, in developed countries and worldwide, the population was far, far less than it is today. People had no idea that planting a few chimneys would heat up the planet, that it would create destruction. Now, China knows clearly the dangers of carbon emissions, yet still it would allow its own carbon emissions to increase up until 2040. Just look at the cars our military uses, they're all high-emission luxury SUVs. Yesterday I was on the freeway and beside me I saw an Audi Q7 with Shandong province police license plates. Is this public servant's butt so valuable, enough to cruise around town in a luxury car worth over RMB1.4 million, doing over 160 on a rainy night?

The cars Chinese bureau-level cadres and up drive aren't very far behind the cars that most heads of state around the world drive, and yet China shamelessly goes to Copenhagen insisting on high emissions, not to mention refusing to budge an inch in negotiations? The questions faced at Copenhagen aren't in the least about development, but about whether or not six billion people can continue to exist on this planet. Do China's development issues take priority over this? Would it really be more difficult to just get the butts of China's civil servants up off their Audi Q7 seats?


Where politicians are at their ugliest is in that they have never represented the interests of the people, all they care about is whether or not they can hold onto power for one more day. The natural disasters China has suffered these past few years surpass all those seen over the past several decades. Even with the ending in the movie 2012, the first people to get on the arks are the same kind of politicians who are only able to put on a performance at Copenhagen.

Something rotten in Denmark? Sina blogger JK_Tidus expresses a kind of skepticism about the climate talks that has been quite pervasive on Chinese blogs this week:

最近 气候变化大会在哥本哈根招开

Recently, climate change talks have been underway in Copenhagen
This is the hottest topic in environmentalism right now
As for reducing emissions
This is a problem for the entire world!!
But what have we seen?
Each country attacking other countries just for their own interest
None of them willing to make a commitment
Those that do, how many will fulfill it?
How many countries have been able to reach the emission targets set at the last of these things?
I went on QQ to take a look around
Only to notice how many people are cursing at each other talking about the goal of reducing emissions in both China and Europe
How useful is that?
This question should absolutely not be about patriotism vs. being pro-Western
People need to look at the bigger picture
And together, think about these talks responsibly
After all, isn't this meeting being held for the future of humankind?
All countries need to take action
And not just do it out of economic interest
Or political goals or to fight one another!
If these talks don't reach a satisfactory outcome
The future on this planet will be worrisome indeed!


  • Excellent summary thanks John. As the blogger said their opinion was but a “…drop of water in a rainstorm,” the Pacific nations must feel the same way, having their opinions ignored at a summit which could well decide their future.

  • All the dunderheaded disinformation, deceit, delay, denial and disasterous decisionmaking of the past 8 long dark years are in past. With a little luck people with feet of play will overcome the arrogance, wanton greed and stupidity perpetrated by the Masters of the Universe among us, the most avaricious and self-righteous ones who widely proclaim their greed-mongering is God’s work.

    What mental disorder describes those among us who proclaim themselves Masters of the Universe doing the work of God?

    Years of hard work by people with feet of clay all come down to this week. The \now or never\ week is at hand for the children, global biodiversity, life as we know it, the integrity of Earth and its environs. This week is the moment that the Masters of the Universe cannot avoid any longer; all of human family are bound in this long-awaited momentous week. The time for action has come, finally. The opportunity held in this blessed moment must not be missed.

    If anyone thinks of something that I can do to assist any of you to reasonably, sensibly, responsibly and humanely realize the goals of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, please send word to me.

    Steve Salmony
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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