Home>>Columnists >> John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min's column

China's G-Finance & G-Economy Key to US$ 40 Trillion Market (2)

12:49, September 03, 2010

    Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum

China is ahead of the US in recognizing and responding to the economic and business opportunities in the G-Economy. President Obama’s administration’s “new climate goals” announced in 2009 were significantly less than China’s goals and progress in implementing its goals. For example, according to the Center for American Progress in 2008, “President Obama has set a goal of cutting carbon-dioxide emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, and supports a cap and trade system that would set limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. China is already planning to reduce the amount of energy consumed per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2010. China is on target to achieve carbon-emission reductions of between 300 million and 450 million tons by 2010 from the top 1,000 energy-consuming enterprises, covering 43 percent of China’s carbon dioxide emissions.”

If the US cannot commit to and achieve the level of goals China has committed to how can the US achieve an 80 percent reduction goal by 2050? President Obama’s administration’s signals in 2009 on climate change were perceived by some as more symbolic than substantial. They included the appointment of Todd Stern as senior climate negotiator, Senator Kerry visiting China prior to the Copenhagen meeting and stating, “China-US energy talks are productive. And the US and China launched joint research center on clean energy but with only US $ 15 million initial funding and China and the US were said to “agree on future energy cooperation” and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on energy and environment.

President Hu Jintao’s signals in 2009 were more serious and ambitious. China called for the world’s rich nations to take concrete steps toward reducing their pollutants instead of issuing what it suggests are empty pledges. China has proposed that the developed world commit to cutting its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020.

The international climate change remediation issues are debated in America in the context of America’s economic crisis, military strategy, trade deficit and other increasingly contentious current issues in US policy towards China. To advert a Cold War preventing a successful response to global warming what is needed in the negotiations between the US and China is a new set of criteria to evaluate the US and Chinese proposals for dealing with pollution remediation. The Principles of Conflict criteria are a key part of what was recognized in 2009 as the “New School of US-China Relations” summarized in A White Paper for the Presidents of America and China used in President Hu’s preparation for negotiations with President Obama. The America-China Partnership Book Series formulates the Principles of Conflict in China & America’s Responsibilities in Mankind’s Future published in English, which has been translated into Mandarin and is being published in China by the Central Party School. In January it published China & America’s Leadership in Peaceful Coexistence, giving it the title in Mandarin of China-US Relations in the Obama Administration: Facing Shared Challenges. The Principles of Conflict are manifested in America’s conventional economic and foreign policies and defense strategies towards China and are the antithesis of the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence manifested in China’s foreign policy and defense strategies with America since 1978. Another key problem in US policymaking for the G-Economy is the assumption that pollution remediation and energy efficiency are a zero-sum game and will reduce jobs, business profits and GDP growth. The carbon tax issue is important to energy-intensive U.S. industries that are concerned that costs imposed by climate-change laws will put them at a disadvantage with competitors in countries that don’t have similar requirements.

The Washington Post commented on July 7, 2009 that President Obama has sent conflicting signals. He has warned against policies that "send a protectionist message" and criticized trade barriers, saying they ‘hurt us all in the end.’ But the administration has also failed to stop policies that major trading partners have decried as protectionist.” It will be difficult for the Obama administration to do so because it has introduced many new trade barriers limiting imports from China and its other trading partners.

The US approach to climate negotiations based on the Principles of Conflict exhibited in the conventional US trade policies result in the frequent failures of US proposals to China because they often have inadequate value propositions for China. The US proposes what will benefit the US and harm China. For example, the Obama’s administration’s Secretaries of Energy and Commerce who visited China several times in 2009 seeking to develop US-China collaboration on clean energy, which President Obama sees as a way to create US economic growth and the job creation that he has promised the American people. But, neither the US Energy nor Commerce Secretaries came to China with reciprocal economic globalization proposals. As a result their efforts were unsuccessful.

The following comments of Energy Secretary Chu were reported on March 19, 2009 in the Wall Street Journal, “If China’s emissions of global warming gases keep growing at the pace of the last 30 years, the country will emit more such gases in the next three decades than the United States has in its entire history. He warned China that: “if humans did not reverse the rising pace of their emissions of greenhouse gases, more people would be displaced by rising sea levels in China than in any other country.” Mr. Chu has testified that, “If other countries don't impose a cost on carbon, then we will be at a disadvantage...[and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost." He told a House science panel that implementing a carbon tariff will level the playing field if other countries do not mandate greenhouse gas emission reductions similar to President Obama’s plan to limit carbon emissions. Secretary Chu advocated adjusting trade duties as a "weapon" to protect U.S. manufacturing, just a day after one of China's top climate envoys warned of a trade war if developed countries impose tariffs on carbon-intensive imports.

US Commerce Secretary Locke made the following comments during his visits to Shanghai and Beijing in 2009. “It’s been said that it’s unjust to ask China and other developing nations to drastically reduce their carbon emissions, when countries like the United States have spent 150 years using coal, oil and other dirty fuels to grow their economies. That's an understandable point, but one of no concern to Mother Nature. She doesn’t discriminate between carbon that comes from the United States or China … and she will ignore attempts to explain the sins of the future by pointing out sins others made in the past….We all share the same atmosphere and if we do not act, we’ll all suffer from the coastal flooding, unpredictable weather, and agricultural damage that is undoubtedly in store if we don't change the way we use energy. As inhabitants of this planet, we will rise or fall together. China shares a special responsibility with the United States to address global warming. China passed the United States two years ago as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and together the two countries account for 42 percent of emissions caused by humans. Fifty years from now, we do not want the world to lay the blame for environmental catastrophe at the feet of China. It was critical for everyone to limit GHG emissions to avoid an environmental catastrophe that will hit all countries, including developing countries that are just starting to catch up with more industrialized nations. Chinese factories should be retrofitted or constructed with modern pollution controls to limit GHG and other emissions.” The US wants China to be required by a cap and trade regime and tariffs to buy US-made green technology. It also objects to China developing it own green technology, demanding US companies in effect provide it. It is not a very effective marketing approach.

【1】 【2】 【3】

The articles in this column represent the author's views only. They do not represent opinions of People's Daily or People's Daily Online.

Post your comments:


Dai MinJohn
Dai Min

John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min are the executive producers and co-hosts of the Collaboration of Civilizations television series adapted by the eight books they wrote in the America-China Partnership Book Series published in English and Mandarin in 2009-2010. They founded the America-China Partnership Foundation and Forum in 2008 and the Center for America-China Partnership in 2005. E-mail: [email protected]