Behind Climate Talks There is Only Naked National Interest

低碳阴谋。Low Carbon Plot
中国与欧美的生死之战。 The Life and Death War Between China and the West.
作者:勾红洋。Author, Gou Hongyang

如果您是本书的作家,我先要感谢你给我和我朋友们此睁开眼睛的机会。我翻译的部分已经受到了个热烈的欢迎。
谢谢!

If you are the author of this book, I would like to thank you for giving my friends and I the opportunity to open our eyes. The parts that I have translated have already received an extremely warm welcome!
Thank you.

This translation was first published at Liberty Gibbert here,
Cela a été traduit en français ici

If you are late to the Cancun Week party, part one of this translation can be found here, and part 2
here
. Enjoy!

In order to formulate set agreements, the international community holds many conferences; but in order to reduce and limit greenhouse gas emissions, which directly affects the economic development of every country, it is difficult for each participant to agree. This results in the United Nations Climate Change Conferences being abnormally difficult.

Throughout world climate change talks, usually all of the countries will form three groupings. The first is all of the European Union countries, the second is the umbrella grouping that are represented by the United States, this includes America, Japan, Canada, Australia. The third is the developing countries. Each side is unwilling to make concessions to the other side. The struggles between these three sides penetrates the entire United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The grouping that is most favourable to responding to climate change is undoubtedly Europe. The primary reason for this is that the forces for environmental protection in every European country are rather strong. Clean energy constitutes a fairly large proportion of energy resources, whilst striving to wave the flag of environmental protection as high as possible on the international stage, whilst also having advanced environmental protection technology and ample amounts of capital. So they strongly support immediately adopting fairly radical measures to reduce and limit the emission of greenhouse gases.

In Europe, there is not a strong pressure group that opposes new energy resources, because no matter if it is Shell, TOTAL, or BP, all face the prospect of the oil in the North Sea running out. So carbon emissions give rise to carbon finances. This is most definitely in the interests of the United Kingdom, and is worth much more than the profit lost from oil.

For Developing Countries, these events are pretty much like keeping the prince company as he reads his books. The Developed Countries are the leading force in the world’s international structures. The voice of the Developing Countries is thus weak, and their interests are easy to ignore.

If mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reductions are implemented, it will create a huge limiting force on the development of China’s internal economy. The first factor is that China does not have the technology, so the only way is to buy it from Developed Countries. The second factor, is no capital. To very many countries, there is a huge pile of internal problems, the most pressing task is feeding the people. Who has got the money to throw around to buy expensive solar power and whatever new energy technology?

Developing Countries have also got their own reasons for not reducing emissions. Most of the emissions in the whole world have been emitted by Developed Countries, making the Earth “polluted”; and afterwards they want to get the Developing Countries on board to deal with the problem together. This is not a joke. Like a piece of common land in a village. First a group of wealthy men make it stink to high Heaven. The poor, as they have not much money, do not spend much time on activities outdoors. Then the rich righteously say, “In order to give everyone the chance to be happy, why don’t we all clean up the public spaces together!”

Developing Countries were originally willing to muck in, hit the soy sauce, see if there is any opportunity to earn a quid or two; but now have to shoulder the consequences of the rich man’s excessive activities. Whose fault is this? The emotions in the hearts of the Developing Countries are clear. We will resolutely not pay the Developed Countries’ bills.

But Developing Countries are being put under heavy pressure from public opinion, they are being required to participate in world emissions reductions, and once in the commitment is large. Throughout the Climate talks, Developing Countries continuously supported the stipulations of the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”, and refused to assume the responsibility of obligations that were not suitable to the development level of their own country.

If adhering was to let Developing Countries reduce their emissions, that is fine, if it brings some profit; but Developing Countries must first have the capital, and second have the technology. Yet, regarding these two factors, Europe and America are playing hard ball.

On the issue of technology transfer, Developed Countries argue that the emissions reductions technology is in the hands of private enterprises, and there are issues of intellectual property rights. With regards to the issue of capital, Developed Countries have expressed that this should be resolved through market mechanisms.

In this manner, there is no sincerity in transactions; so of course the Developing Countries believe that this is subterfuge on the part of the Developed Countries. Sincerity is lacking.

************************

America is the world super power, comprising between 3 and 4% of the world’s population and consuming a quarter of the entire world’s resources, it stands to reason that it is the primary entity for emissions reduction; but in its response to climate change, its attitude has been the most passive.

If Americans can on the international stage gain a good reputation, then they are very willing to act; but they also need to consider the cost of the action. In July 1998, the Clinton administration published a report by an economy consulting committee. This report stated that if America in concert with other Developing Countries abided by clean development mechanisms and implemented emissions reductions trade, it would be possible for the USA to reduce the original level of consumption by about 60%, meeting the stipulations of the 2012 emissions requirements of the “Kyoto Protocol”.

But the Americans felt that the cost of these emissions reductions was rather large, including the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Department of Energy, the [Energy Information Resources Department] and others that seriously assessed the economy. They felt that implementing the “Kyoto Protocol” would result in a large reduction in the growth of U.S. GDP.

Owing to this, the American tactics during the climate talks have been as follows, if there are to be reductions, everybody implements these reductions together. America will not act alone. It is difficult for the Developing Countries to concede on anything, which gives America the best excuse to not implement its own measures.

The dynamic balance of rights and obligations is now in the hands of the effective launch of international co-operation.

From America’s point of view, the Kyoto Protocol does not in the least provide for the characteristics described above. Or in another way of speaking, with regards to emissions reductions, America only has responsibility, but no rights or power. The American people are not willing to accept these kinds of losses.

The shouldering of responsibility, if there is not a corresponding economic benefit… the only way is to use morality to constrain it. Senior American economist, Nobel Prize for Economics winning George Akerlof stated plainly: “This (solving global warming) is not a question of cost or profit, this is a ethical dilemma.”

In facing this ethical dilemma, the former American Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice gave the Senate a concrete answer: “Government Policy decisions should be made with national interest as the base, and not from the perspective of the benefit of an imaginary international community.”

The USA has always been hesitant to reduce its emissions, but owing to its international standing, any international issue cannot be resolved without America; so, all talks give America some space, in order to bring America over to the cause, and try to motivate it on moral issues and make it reduce emissions for the sake of humanity.

But, looking at the last twenty years, America, this wealthy nation, has always been stubborn; the lead that Europe tries to provide, is of no use whatsoever

So we can say, that from head to foot, America is a realist. As the Global Village policeman, what can anybody else hope to do?

In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Obama; the resulting shock caused people’s glasses to fall from their noses and to the floor. Actually the Peace Prize has always been a political tool. It is usually awarded to those who have already succeeded, like Gorbachev. Yet Obama had only just taken office, so why was the prize given to him?

We can see that the European Union tried create a short-cut: first make Obama wear a tall hat, hopefully causing America to make some concessions with regards to the Climate Change talks. From an internal perspective, America is not terribly interested in this prize; their attitude towards it being limited to cold jokes and hot sarcasm. Obama was also fairly clear about this, and he only quietly accepted the prize. From this we can see that America was just not buying it, and would not be bought by the European Union over a Peace Prize.

America’s unilateralism in most situations appears to be relatively abundant, as long as something is not in America’s interests, then even if a knife is at their neck, they will still refuse, and more pertinently, who dares to push a knife against America’s neck? America grew up a long time ago, is it scared of a little criticism on the international stage?

With regards to the issue of signing the “The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea”, America could not have been any more relaxed.

Along with scientific advance, the Age of Land Rights was concluded, and the Age of the Oceans arrived. On a (water) world that is covered 70% by water (and not by earth), whoever has control of the the oceans, controls the world, this is the driving force of a Great Power.

America has 7 fleets of aircraft carriers, America’s view on its freedom of movement in the world is placed here, the USA obviously wishing that its fleet have freedom of movement throughout the world, and can go wherever they wish to go.

In order to counter America’s control of the seas, a grouping of poor nations worked together through the United Nations and put forward a “The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea”, to settle rights of passage in related areas. China, as the leader of the Third World, could naturally not just stand to one side. It not only got involved, but also led; and not only led, but also gave official approval.

Let’s put it like this, a group of poor guys wanted to counter the richest guy in the world, to divide the seas, with each one having rights over 200 nautical miles, could Uncle Sam not know? Was this not reducing America’s freedom of movement? To begin with, America resolutely opposed, and if the Government refused to sign the Agreement, there was little chance of obtaining the Senate’s approval ”The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea” could only be a toy, whilst participants watched it die a natural death.

Yet during the Reagan Administration, America suddenly became very co-operative. To begin with, Americans were looking far from home, and could only see other people’s coasts, and had never stopped to think that it itself also had a coast. The Reagan Administration suddenly discovered, that America was the only country in the entire world sided by two oceans, and furthermore, there are no other countries as far as the eye can see. There is no need to contest seas ownership, or the establishment of special economic zones with anyone.

Originally, as soon as “The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea” was announced, the USA was the greatest beneficiary, and so immediately went in to action, and pushed it through the Senate, and put pressure on other ocean faring nations to sign. With the crack of the whip, “The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea” turned from being just a toy into a tool.

This is reality. It is so difficult to pass any international law without the participation of the Americans; and to accomplish anything, much profit must first be given to America. Originally, participants united to counteract the acrobatics of the rich man, and finally it was the rich man who profited most.

Of course there is a reason for this, and this is because the power of America’s might acts as a strut.

After the break up of the Soviet Union, America’s great independent status was revealed, and its unilateralism reached its apogee. All over the world we can see the busy shadows of the American cowboys, leading in disputes, actively preserving the status quo; even when the others are being good, it can still liven up the situation.

After two wars, and the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and the installation of the friendly Maliqi Iraqi administration, America had already completed setting the pieces of the world. Theoretically, America controls the entire world, and has become the greatest power, and its actual power has reached its summit.

Plucky America actually does not need to consider the interests of anybody else. For a short while, it even considered dismantling the United Nations (which it considers to be little more than a Buddhist temple where people go to chant Amitabha), this would completely unfetter its freedom of action, and whatever it fancied doing on the world stage it could do, and in any which way that it so wished.

With this kind of grand background, how would Americans even consider the United Nations Climate Change Conference as being important? They only come to have a look, scare everybody a bit, and occasionally spread feelings of goodwill, if only to prove that the Americans are still greatly interested in international affairs. And also to remind everyone not to dig under the USA’s wall whilst its back is turned.

9 thoughts on “Behind Climate Talks There is Only Naked National Interest

  1. And so ends our serialization of Low Carbon Plot; for now!! If you want to know the very last line of the book, where the author reveals, in the most perfect sentence ever constructed, exactly what makes Chinese people tick, you’ll have to buy me a yacht! And a real one, mind you, not a scale model!

    • Pierre

      I’m glad I could provide a different perspective through these translations. The entire book is grounded in real politik; the average Chinese person is, however, as grounded in the climate myth as the average westerner; although they will do less on a personal level to reduce their carbon footprint, as this is counter to the rising tide of conspicuous consumption.

      For our readers who may not be aware of your site, its http://notrickszone.com/ and has been a centre for the rational climate skeptic through the dark days when there was scarcely a single dissenting voice.

      This is still a young site, thanks again for coming!

      Locusts & Wild Honey

  2. Thanks very much, Locusts, for the translation and for this post. Excellent work, as always!

    I agree that a strategic partnership with No Tricks Zone would be wunderbar, as well as giving us exclusive access to the wondrous CO2 molecules contained in Munich and Berlin beer. It would be great to have their team supply a blog topic and article soon!

  3. Pingback: Standing Before America, the Great Enemy: Why Is China So Nervous? « 四川特派员

  4. I don’t see what is wrong with acting in one’s own country’s national interests, as if it were a crime or something. The only alternative is treason. I am also wondering what naked national interest is. National interest with no underpants?

  5. Pingback: Why On Earth Was Liu Xiaobo Awarded The Nobel Peace Prize « 四川特派员

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