Officials from 194 countries gathered yesterday in Durban, South Africa to attend the UN climate change conference.
Like previous climate talks over the past two decades, the wrestling between developing and developed countries as to who should cut more carbon dioxide emissions and who should spend more money to help poorer countries, will continue.
Emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil insist on extending the Kyoto Protocol that requires strict emission cuts from industrialized countries. However, wealthier countries, such as Japan, Canada and Australia countered that unless all countries face the same standards, they will not adopt a second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
The US, which has long been staying out of any binding climate protocol, voiced a similar opinion, saying that major economies, no matter whether developed or developing, must act "in a common system."
It is easier said than done to require the so-called "centers of world manufacturing" to toe the same line.
Although China has been taking serious steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, suspicions are often heard in foreign media about US sincerity. China's measurement of carbon intensity, or the amount of emissions per unit of GDP, was often mocked as a way to cover up the actual growth of emissions.
China should deal with the climate issue at its own pace and in accordance with its own socio-economic conditions.
Compared with the US, where Congress often sneers at climate change and failed to pass Obama's domestic cap-and-trade system last year, what the Chinese government has been promoting is spectacular.
With a reduction of emissions per unit of GDP by nearly 20 percent in 2010 from the 2005 level, China is determined to cut the carbon intensity by 40-45 percent by 2020.
Energy consumption did grow by an annual rate of 6.6 percent in the past five years, but this showed strict emissions controls considering the average annual economic growth rate of 11.2 percent in that time, according to a State Council climate change white paper issued last week.
With rivers and air no longer clean in many cities, Chinese people know about the environmental sacrifices we have made for the industrialization and modernization of this country. We long for a change more eagerly than before.
We have to be patient and carefully balance the dilemma of development and pollution, so as to maximize economic output to bring about a more comfortable and safer life.