America embarks on climate change talks with China

Updated On: Jun 22, 2009

This month, the American and Chinese government will engage in conferences regarding climate change and moves that can be made to lessen the world’s impact on the environment. Currently, these two nations together contribute to 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Though both nations have claimed to be making moves in an effort to reduce their carbon footprints, they are inclined to suspecting the other of not doing enough. In order for the world to make a difference in the global climate crisis, America and China have to come to an agreement regarding their pollution levels since they are two of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Unfortunately, they have been known to become locked into the developed nation versus developing nation debate. Currently, China is concerned with not allowing the United States to push the blame onto China, as far as they are concerned, where a new treaty is concerned, the Americans need to make a more concerted effort to dispel climate change since as a developed nation, they are the world’s biggest greenhouse gas producer. China wants the United States to cut their emission level by 40% while the Americans are only focused on cutting a tenth of that amount.

There is hope that the new Obama administration will be able to breathe new life into the climate change debate. It is anticipated that the two nations will be able to work together better since President Obama, unlike previous President Bush, accepts “international standards on how to measure carbon emission reductions”.

Amidst the climate change talks, it has been noticed that the usually vocal American officials have been strangely quiet on the topic of human rights in China.  Nancy Pelosi, the U.S Speaker of the House, made it clear that she was only interested in discussing climate change with the Chinese. This is a stark change in comparison to her previous moves to very public denouncements the Chinese government’s lack of human rights provision for their people.

Similarly, Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton who first brought attention to the need for more human rights in China in 1995, has turned a blind eye to these concerns. She has declared that she is determined to concentrate on resolving the economic crisis and the global climate change crisis. When pressed about freedoms for the Tibetans, she was firm in explaining that the economy, climate and security issues were more pressing. Indeed, the American government would rather work on these issues which have more of a chance for a successful resolution than Tibetan human rights concerns. It has thus become obvious that the American government has found that under such a precarious and unstable climate, it would be more beneficial to strengthen diplomatic ties with China rather than to focus on areas that would cause strain. This has served to illustrate how important China’s cooperation is to America at this time.


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