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Even as the United States and China confront deep disagreements, there is a global challenge that simply won’t wait for the resolution of our differences: climate change.

While some have decided that we are entering a new Cold War with China, we can still cooperate on critical mutual interests. After all, even at the height of 20th-century tensions, the Americans and the Soviets negotiated arms control agreements, which were in the interests of both countries.

Climate change, like nuclear proliferation, is a challenge of our own making — and one to which we hold the solution. We have an opportunity this month to make clear that great power rivalries aside, geopolitics must end at the water’s edge — at the icy bottom of our planet in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds the entire continent of Antarctica.…  Seguir leyendo »

Street vendors and customers at a market near a coal fired power plant in Huainan, Anhui province, China.CreditCreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

At long last, a handful of political leaders are starting to set goals on greenhouse emissions that are consistent with the magnitude of the climate crisis.

One of the boldest strokes yet came early this week from Gov. Jerry Brown of California. He signed a bill establishing a legal target of zero emissions for the state’s electricity system by 2045. Additionally, in a leap of imagination that nobody saw coming, he signed another document: an executive order setting a goal of zero emissions by 2045 for the entire California economy, not just electricity. That includes cars, trucks, agriculture and every other activity that puts emissions into the air.…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s Other Big Export Pollution

While President Trump rolls back environmental protections and announces the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord, China is trying to position itself as the world’s climate leader, pledging to cooperate with other countries to build an “eco-civilization.” China has established the largest solar panel farm in the world, plans to close over 100 coal-fired power plants, and is committed to spending at least $361 billion on renewable energy by 2020.

All of this is laudable and sorely needed. But if China truly wants to be a climate leader it needs to address its global climate footprint, not just pollution within its borders.…  Seguir leyendo »

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that 2016 was the second hottest year on record in the United States and is likely to be confirmed as the hottest worldwide. The findings are not unexpected – 2015 was previously the hottest year on record – but they underline the problem of who is going to lead the struggle against climate change once Donald Trump is installed in the White House on January 20.

The Trump administration is likely to abandon Barack Obama’s leadership on climate and energy policy in favour of a stance which is negative or at least passive.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le Maroc accueille à Marrakech, du 7 au 18 novembre, la « conférence des parties » (COP22) à l’accord sur le réchauffement climatique. La présidence marocaine de la COP22 ne veut pas d’une simple « COP de mise en œuvre » de l’accord de Paris, conclu à l’issue de la COP21 de décembre 2015 ; elle souhaite en faire une COP de l’Afrique et des Sud. Compte tenu de la stratégie chinoise, il faut s’attendre à voir émerger à Marrakech une alliance objective entre la Chine et l’Afrique.

D’abord, le Sud est pressé. L’Initiative africaine pour l’adaptation (AAI), projet panafricain signé lors de la COP21, a posé une priorité : mobiliser la finance pour l’adaptation au changement climatique.…  Seguir leyendo »

Whether China is a climate hero or a climate villain is a matter of polarized debate. At one extreme, the world’s biggest carbon-emitter is portrayed as a wasteful bogeyman that obstructs efforts to halt global warming and “steals” clean-tech jobs through unfair practices. At the other extreme, people see Beijing’s policies as the planet’s best hope: With its aggressive plans to green its economy, backed by the mighty Communist machine, China is the foremost investor in renewable energy. The truth lies in between.

But recently China has done a canny job of presenting itself in the latter, greener light. The main reason for the more hopeful mood among some climate watchers is an accord signed by China and the United States during President Obama’s trip to Beijing in November.…  Seguir leyendo »

For China, pollution and climate change are not the same problem

Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in China, according to official statistics.

Every time China hosts a major international event the government has to take extraordinary measures to clean up the air and avoid suffocating its prominent guests in a dangerous choking smog. On social media, residents ask why the government can clean up for foreigners but can’t provide a healthy environment for ordinary citizens who live and work in the city.

Beijing ordered a special anti-smog campaign for China’s coming out party at the 2008 Olympic Games and again for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last week, closing factories and ordering traffic restrictions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Algunos podrían considerarlo un desenlace inesperado, pero China -hoy en día el mayor emisor de dióxido de carbono del mundo- se está perfilando como un líder global en materia de política climática en su intento por crear una economía más limpia y más eficiente. Por cierto, los esfuerzos de China para frenar la contaminación y la destrucción medioambiental, a la vez que adopta un modelo de crecimiento más sustentable, pueden ofrecer lecciones valiosas para los gobiernos de todo el mundo.

El primer paso hacia un crecimiento económico sustentable es reconocer, como lo han hecho los líderes de China, que la contaminación -generada en gran medida por centrales eléctricas a carbón- afecta profundamente la vida y el sustento de los ciudadanos, particularmente en ciudades importantes como Beijing y Shanghái.…  Seguir leyendo »

With the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf, talk has once again turned to clean energy. What few people appreciate is that the demand for everything from solar panels to energy-efficient light bulbs is already booming. Worldwide, $162 billion was spent in new clean-tech investments in 2009 alone.

The United States, with its expertise, capital and entrepreneurial spirit, is well positioned to dominate what could easily be the biggest market of the 21st century. But as the most recent delay over the Senate energy bill shows, the country is missing a key ingredient in shaping an effective clean-tech policy: the political will to encourage the innovation, manufacturing and investment necessary to bring these new technologies to market.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Pablo Bustelo, investigador principal (Asia-Pacífico) del Real Instituto Elcano y profesor titular de Economía Aplicada en la Universidad Complutense (REAL INSTITUTO ELCANO, 28/12/07):

Tema: El informe anual que publicó el pasado mes de noviembre la Agencia Internacional de la Energía y, sobre todo, algunos de los argumentos que ciertos países desarrollados emplearon durante la reciente Cumbre de Bali sobre el cambio climático han pretendido censurar, de manera más o menos explícita, a los dos grandes países emergentes asiáticos.

Resumen: Tanto en el informe de la AIE como en algunos argumentos esgrimidos durante la Cumbre de Bali, las dos grandes economías emergentes asiáticas (China e India) han sido prácticamente acusadas de ser co-responsables de los graves problemas energéticos y medioambientales del planeta.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Maximilian Auffhammer, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and Richard Carson, a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California at San Diego, who is immediate past president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (THE WASHINGTON POST, 02/08/07):

China is about to emerge as the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, a position the United States has held since 1890. Now is the time for China to take the lead in finding a way to reduce global emissions, which the United States has thus far failed to do.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Isabel Hilton (THE GUARDIAN, 21/06/07):

There was one place where China's assumption of the title of the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases came as no surprise: Beijing has anticipated and planned for this moment. Until earlier this year climate change was hardly mentioned in the Chinese media. Now the government is encouraging newspapers, radio and television to report on the subject, beginning the long process of educating the population - which increasingly defines itself by what it owns - to understand the long-term consequences of a level of consumption they have only recently been able to enjoy. At government level, a series of briefings by climate-change experts for the leadership, and a policy effort that involved 17 ministries, produced China's first national climate-change plan this month.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Pablo Bustelo, investigador principal de Asia-Pacífico, Real Instituto Elcano, y profesor titular de Economía Aplicada en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (REAL INSTITUTO ELCANO, 21/06/07):

Tema: A principios del mes de junio China desveló su Programa Nacional sobre Cambio Climático, un documento que ha generado cierta controversia y que ha hecho que, desde algunos sectores de opinión, se cuestione si la posición de Pekín en la lucha contra el calentamiento global es todo lo responsable que debería ser.

Resumen: Este análisis argumenta, en primer lugar, que el reciente Programa chino sobre cambio climático es una iniciativa de la mayor importancia para el conjunto del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (THE WASHINGTON POST, 03/12/06):

Last month the International Energy Agency announced that China would probably surpass the United States as the world's largest contributor of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 2009, more than a full decade earlier than anticipated. This forecast could spur China to adopt tough new energy and environmental standards, but it probably won't. China has already embarked on a very different strategy to manage its environmental reputation: launching a political campaign that lays much of the blame for the country's mounting environmental problems squarely on the shoulders of foreigners and, in particular, multinational companies.…  Seguir leyendo »