Beijing isn’t green

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Patrick J. Michaels’ Tuesday column on NASA laboratory head James E. Hansen’s anti-democracy rant about how the Chinese dictatorship can better fight climate change was revealing about the mindset of green fanatics in the United States (“China-style dictatorship of climatologists,” Commentary). It also exposed Mr. Hansen’s ignorance about actual Chinese policy. Beijing will pursue energy efficiency where it makes sense, but it has never accepted global warming as a constraint on economic growth.

China’s position has been clear at the United Nations climate negotiations. Just before the 2009 Copenhagen conference, it led India, Brazil and South Africa in a common front against any imposed U.N. cuts on emissions and rejected the use of trade barriers as a way to impose penalties on those who don’t reduce emissions.

Mr. Hansen’s notion that China would impose such barriers against the United States is absurd and indicates he is completely out of touch with history.

Before last month’s Cancun climate conference, the ruling Communist Party’s newspaper, the Global Times, editorialized, “China’s greenhouse gas emissions probably will not peak until 2035. … Its national conditions have made it fundamentally impossible for China to take action in accordance with the low-carbon standards of the Western countries. … It is China’s national interests to protect its right to develop.”

Beijing’s stance at the U.N. - supported by the entire developing world - has blocked any anti-growth climate treaty. For that, we should be thankful.

WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

Burke, Va.

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