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Do not believe those Chinese numbers

Published 14th December 2009 - 2 comments - 1101 views -

The elephant in the room is China, but not too many around here like to say that. In fact, the Th!nk About It initiative has been remarkable for the lack of analysis or criticism of China. This is all the more surprising as…

1. China is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and their fastest-growing source.

2. Any global greenhouse gas control agreement has to curb Chinese emissions dramatically.

The Chairman in the corn fieldBut what's the value of such an agreement with China's signature on it? Not worth the paper it's written on, actually.

China, you see, is not like Denmark, where many people prefer an environmental ethos to economic growth. Denmark's also got a powerful green movement, as have many of the countries that favour stringent greenhouse gas controls, and lots of people in Denmark are involved in climate politics, which means that the government has to respond to this grassroots pressure. But that's democracy.  

China is different, though. Free speech and a free press do not exist. The Chinese Communist Party maintains a vast and costly apparatus to monitor and muzzle its subjects and prevent anything like an independent green movement from forming. There can be but one Party! In other words, there can be no Chinese green movement because the government of China is not based on popular sovereignty. A popular government would mean the end of the Chinese Communist Party's monopoly on power, of course. 

Heard of the American geologist  Dr Xue Feng? He's been imprisoned without trial in China after being charged with "stealing state secrets over the purchase of a commercial database on the oil industry." Is anyone seriously suggesting that we can trust China's statistics about its greenhouse gas emissions while such databases remain state secrets? All information is in the hands of the Party and nothing that might impede economic growth will be tolerated.

Until China permits the emergence of an independent, active green movement, its climate statements must be considered propaganda and its statistics must be regarded as falsehoods. Wonder what those who were protesting so vociferously last Saturday in Copenhagen had to say about that? 

Category: Climate Politics, | Tags: china, communism, propaganda, statistics, lies,


Paul Montariol on 14th December 2009:

I am completely of agreement.
It is in ten years the great appointment!
While waiting I do not see better than the growth of green energies.
The current punitive vision does not carry out nowhere.

Federico Pistono on 14th December 2009:

Freedom of speech and to spread information is essential for a resolution. As you rightly pointed out, China has much bigger issues to address before they can solve this anything else.

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