Monday, February 23, 2009

Good news from China

Between a wee bit of economic turbulence, the end of the Twin Cities outdoor ice season, the chalkboard nail screeches from the Party of Limbaugh, the apparent end of product development at Apple, the fight for the midterm (2010 is tomorrow) elections and the endless march of Bush/Cheney hangovers this ain't the happiest of times.

On the other hand, there's some good news from the most important place in the world.


I don't think the US is going to fall apart, and I presume that whatever alien forces that have allowed us to survive the development of fusion weapons will continue to operate, so my top priority as an American father is that China be prosperous, happy and ... you know ... peaceful. (Sorry India, I have more confidence in your stability -- despite your neighbors.)

If I were running the US government my top priority for our economic interventions would be that they helped China. That's only one of several hundred reasons why I'll never hold political office.

So it's good news that Hilary Clinton was very warmly received in Beijing. And it's good news that James Fallows, senior editor of The Atlantic and Beijing resident for the past several years, sees real progress on climate change discussions ...
Even more on US-China climate cooperation - James Fallows

I've previously mentioned the Asia Society/Pew and Brookings proposals for US-Chinese cooperation. Here is another one, from the National Resources Defense Council, which has been doing environmental work in and with China for a long time. As a bonus, here is the summary of its 9-point action plan:

1. Engage in serious bilateral meetings on climate change and address the key sticking points to reaching meaningful agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009
2. Establish a US-China forum on climate change strategies that promote green jobs and economic recovery
3. Mobilize the untapped potential of energy efficiency
4. Assist in the deployment of renewable energy sources and technologies
5. Promote low-carbon, high-efficiency vehicles, fuels, transportation systems, and community development
6. Expand research and investment on carbon capture and storage technology
7. Improve greenhouse gas emissions monitoring and data transparency
8. Conduct co-benefit analysis on GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emissions controls
9. Invest in regular exchanges and sharing of expertise to improve enforcement of
environmental law and energy efficiency standards.
For North America climate change is a mixed bag. Some areas do worse (California agriculture is toast and we know New Orleans will sink), other regions, for a tropical primate, seem "better".

For China, however, climate change means lots more desert. China appears to pay far more attention to science than the Bushies or the Party of Limbaugh, so this is well understood there.

If China goes, we all go.

So it's double good that China relations in general are improving and that climate discussions are front and center.

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