Lessons from China - 28 Jan2010
Wasn't Tuesday night a scorcher! For me it came at the end of a hot
but pleasant afternoon down beside the Macquarie River helping to
staff the Bathurst Community Climate Action Network stall. While we
were there to answer questions from the general public, it was also
good for BCCAN members to chat amongst ourselves about the state of
One member, BCCAN Treasurer Greg Walker, had just returned from a
brief trip to Changchun, a city of seven million people in northern
China. Greg found no sign of scepticism about climate change in that
country. Instead, the talk was all about what can be done to meet the
But the Chinese fear that the developed world will try to take
advantage of the developing world. They argue that carbon emissions
should be measured on a per capita basis, rather than a per-country
basis. They also point out that the developed world should be
responsible for consumption as well as production of manufactured
goods. They argue that Western consumers have shifted production of
"dirty" manufactured goods to the developing world and that global
accounting for emissions must take account of this.
"China refuses to accept the West’s dictate that China must reduce
its overall carbon emission level," says Greg. "To do so would
condemn tens of millions to remain in poverty or impose enormous cost
on China to convert rapidly to renewable energy sources."
At the same time, China has made enormous investment in renewable
energy projects, with more wind farms in that country than in the US.
There are new regulations to force carbon efficiency gains in housing
and production and reforms in the coal industry to close low grade
dirty coal mines.
But Greg's overwhelming impression was of the pace of building and
construction and the inevitable increase in total emissions. "China
is the world’s greatest producer of automobiles, the greatest
consumer of concrete and I understand is even more dependent on coal
fired power than is Australia!"
More on Greg's trip to China can be found in the latest newsletter on
the BCCAN website.
Congratulations to Conservation Volunteers Australia's John Fry, who
won this year's Jo Ross memorial award for his lifelong efforts to
improve the local environment.