Mark Lynas: “How China wrecked the Copenhagen Deal”

Mark Lynas, correspondent with the Guardian, gives his account on the defining hours of the Copenhagen Accord on December 18th. According to his report, China only agreed to the Accord on the condition that the OECD countries would not commit to any binding target, not even unilaterally. If true, the rift wasn’t really between developed and developing countries - while India at times backed China’s positions, the Maldives certainly didn’t, and “Brazil’s representative too pointed out the illogicality of China’s position”. If true, this was apparently a point where the Four-Non-Negotiables coaliton dissociate, but that didn’t keep the Chinese delegation from seeing their policy through.

Lynas was attached to one of the delegations in the room.

Hat tip to The View from Taiwan‘s Daily Links.

____________

Related:

Two Reactions to Mark Lynas’ Account, The Atlantic, Dec 23, 2009
“Developed Countries’ Copenhagen Positions Inconsistent…”, Dec 23, 2009

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36 Responses to “Mark Lynas: “How China wrecked the Copenhagen Deal””

  1. TNND,这个人真是反咬一口啊。

  2. TNND 是谁?

  3. 我觉得, 假如Lynas的诉说是正确的, 给大众宣布这件事应该没有错. 就是跟中国国际广播电台一样讲述从个别观点或者利意故事的哥本哈根故事, 对不对?

  4. 我没说他发表自己看法不对,只是说他说的话所表达的意思是“反咬一口”,就跟猪八戒那样倒打一耙!

    大家要应对气候变暖,世界这么多的国家的人不远万里到哥本哈根去谈判。这样谈判本身就是富国和穷国之间的一种对决。这次谈判怎么可能像《澳大利亚人》报那个作者说的那样只是奥巴马和温家宝个人摊牌那么简单?

    我现在也不想分析Lenore Taylor文章里面的逻辑,那是他自己编织的,我不理睬,因为我不想掉进他挖的“坑”里面。

    如果真是二氧化碳让地球变热了,那么我想说这几点:

    1. 富国几百年前就开始烧煤,烧完了煤又去烧石油,排放了那么多的二氧化碳,难道没有责任出技术、出资金帮助穷国减排吗?答案:那是必须的。富国前生造的孽,今生必须得还。还讨价还价什么?

    2. 富国还在干的一件事情是,把重污染的行业都转移到中国等发展中国家,享受着污染带来的好处,现在占了便宜又来卖乖。

    3. 说中国是头号二氧化碳排放大国,没错。但是中国有多少人?德国的人口就相当于中国的一个省!我们来算算人均谁排放的多?中国自然是要担起大国的责任,但这种责任必须与自己的发展阶段和国情相协调才行。

    最后说一句,这次中国参加会议是来给别人定规矩来了,这次没让包括贵国在内的富国一手给全球制定规矩是中国的胜利,解振华自然很高兴,百年第一次啊。

    说了这么多,希望JR老兄能看懂。还是感觉母语表达舒坦,见谅见谅。

  5. Geez – I suppose I can still read that much, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to reply in Chinese.
    No, the OECD countries or developed countries can’t simply set the rules anymore, and I have no problem with that. In the near future, I see the likelihood that a coalition of OECD and emerging countries will either work out compromises (which will continue to hurt the developing countries). That’s a rule I hope some non-governmental organizations will be able to change over the coming decade.
    But the idea that the OECD countries as those which accumulated the greenhouse emissions and are therefore the natural payers for reducing it on a global scale doesn’t look plausible to me. Emerging economies have profited from the same technology within decades, and so have, to some extent, most developing countries. I’m no faithful Christian – guilt trips don’t work on me. ;)
    What looks natural to me though is that the OECD countries must not fall back behind the Kyoto Protocol. That’s why I posted the translation of the China Radio International article.
    And what also looks natural to me is that the OECD countries – if the Lynas account applies, and that still remains an if – should have been allowed to commit to an 80 per cent cut by 2050. I believe that this would have been a better premise for the summit in Mexico next year, than no commitment at all.
    That said, Europe remains free to commit itself anyway, within or without an international accord. But I’d only support that if, in certain ways, it helps our economic competitiveness about as much as it may hurt it in other ways.
    Everything else is up in the air. I hope there will be more agreement next year, but I prefer no agreement at all over a lousy one.
    Two vocabulary question: what does 来卖乖 mean, and what does TNND stand for?

  6. 现在发达国家人口占全球20%,其排放量却占75%。这表明什么?这表明你们一直在吃肉,我们一直只在喝汤。

    从减排的规模上,富国必须要承担起更大的责任,必须补偿过去几百年来给地球带来的伤害。这不是你们是不是“感到对此有愧”的有问题,而是这些数据表明地球变暖富国是始作俑者,是最大的破坏分子。你们做了,就要承担。

    上面说的是过去。现在说将来。

    富国除了要补上历史的欠债,还要对将来的减排做出等同于这75%的贡献。

    两个词汇:

    TNND=他奶奶的
    占便宜卖乖=占了别人的便宜,还说这便宜不算多,还应该多占一些。现在富国干的就是这个:我们多排放一点,你们再少排放一点。

  7. 我昨天已经说过除了京都议定书之外, 我个人认为OECD国家有什么制定的责任. 各国责任才会在谈判中制定. 在你和我的辩论, 感到对此有愧”的问题也许发挥任何作用, 但是有NGO组织代表有这样的感觉. 所以我指出这个问题不要重视 – 唯一的作用是当一些OECD国家之外的争论点. 从一个比较客观角度来看, 没有这个争论点.
    假如富国有历史的欠债, 也可以说中国或者印度,因为上过同样的道路, 开发新的方法, 有一样的责任.

    胡说八道吗? 当然啊! 但是我这样说的跟你所说的有同样的逻辑. 只有谈判才能制定各国的责任, 分配各国的任务.

    谢谢你帮我扩大我的词汇量!

  8. correction:
    … 中国或者印度,因为上过同样的道路, 没有开发新的方法…

  9. JR老兄:

    你说的很好!哪能是胡说八道!看来你觉得我是胡说八道。。。。。

    你的主意很好。历史的欠账:发达国家从1759年英格兰发明蒸汽机算起开始补偿;中国从1912年中华民国成立算起开始补偿;其它发展国家就从二战结束的1945年算起。就以今年为基准,发达国家补上250年的历史欠账,中国补上97年的历史欠账。

    还有就是,这些减排的计算要根据人均的数字计算,即假如中国人均排放100吨,而富国人均排放800吨,就要朝着中国人均排放500吨,富国人均排放600吨的目标努力,而最终都是人均550吨的排放目标。这样是最公平的,你们的富裕、舒适的日子你们过得,我们也过得。

  10. 每个国家人均排放550吨是你年度整 还是每个人一生的计划? 此外仍然一些小问题, 例如:
    德国才是1871成立的, 日本的工业革命开始的时候是1890左右, 等, 等…
    可能更重要的是, 德国, 日本, 中国, 等国家享受英国发动工业革命的结果.
    结论应该是英国必须承担特别大的责任, 还是应该由于其对世界现代化的历史性贡献将来没有什么减排的责任?

    附链接
    Country list: annual carbon emissions per capita, 2007 according to the International Energy Agency, IEA).

  11. 谢谢提供的链接。
    老兄,我说的是“假如”中国100吨,“假如”富国800吨,至于是年度的,还是什么,是“假如”的“假如”。

    如果按享受二氧化碳排放带来的好处来分担减排责任也没问题。单得按按“人均消费”来计算,即谁人均消费的各种产品多,人就要承担相应大的责任。

    人均居民消费支出 http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/qtsj/gjsj/2008/t20090611_402564866.htm 2006年(2000年价格,美元)

    其中:
    中国 651
    德国 13,840
    美国 26,445

    看到了吗?2006年人均居民消费支出,德国的数字是中国的21.2倍,美国是中国的40.6倍。

    人均排放量不足为训,因为它不能清楚地说明问题。中国的人均排放里面生产了许多要在发达国家消费的产品,有些压根就是发达国家转移到中国的重污染行业。

    如果要谈因为发达国家有“对世界现代化的历史性贡献”,所以要减少你们的减排责任,就又是一个得便宜又卖乖的行为。

    何谓历史贡献大?从工业革命到现在,民主的、发达的你们,资本的原始积累基础之一就剥削第三世界国家:用炮舰直接或者用你们制定的自由市场制度、全球贸易制度间接从穷国低价进口原材料或者初级制造品,生产成产品之后再高价卖给穷国。剥削者的“贡献”自然是大,被剥削者的“贡献”小吗?还有,你们确实是“贡献”,而我们却是“被贡献”,即是被你们强迫贡献的。(关于“被xx”:http://www.google.cn/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Azh-CN%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=zh-CN&source=hp&q=%E8%A2%AB%E5%AD%97&lr=&btnG=Google+%E6%90%9C%E7%B4%A2)

  12. “单得按按”误,应为“但得按” (但是必须要按照)

  13. 更正:

    单得按按=但得按(但是不是要按照)

  14. 又打错字了。

    单得按按=但得按(但是必须要按照)

  15. Huolong,

    I don’t want to appear mean, but when I’m buying a light bulb for my bicycle, I usually don’t buy one, but two for the front light and three for the rear light: one to accidentally break it off during the installation and to use a caliper to remove the remaining metal again, one to insert successfully, and one for each light in my pocket, because they will only last for about ten hours net.
    You can believe me – I’d prefer the old ones made in Germany, but they are no longer available here. Buying those would reduce the numbers of bulbs bought by at least 80 per cent. This still wouldn’t reduce the money I spend on light bulbs, but it would save a lot of material and emissions.
    That said, I’m not absolutely in favor of returning to a world with less global trade – although if China wants to do so, no imperialists will be able to “open it up” again against its own will. But European consumption numbers don’t necessarily represent an improved quality of life, only more time spent on replacing broken stuff. And from my own experience (which is of course fragmentary), there may be Chinese compatriots from outside mainland China who get a free ride (or substantial break) from local authorities concerning environmental requirements – but German-invested production in China on average is certainly much cleaner than average Chinese-invested production.
    Do you want to blame us consumers here in Europe for buying from companies which are spared tough environmental conditions by your central or local governments?

    The only way I see to assign responsibilities for improvement are the responsibility of the government of each country in question. That’s not about getting a free ride – that’s practical. It should also be practical to leave China’s current account plus to trade negotiations, rather than to bring them into the carbon dioxide talks.
    As I said before: I see no need to include the West’s technological achievements in the carbon dioxide reduction negotiations – but I see no need either to include past emissions in those negotiations.

    As for the exploitation of third-world countries: there always was, and especially in some African and South Asian countries still is – a local upper class which happily sold our ancestors slaves from Liberia, sells you and us raw materials from everywhere, and which once bought the opium in China. I doubt that the people below China’s razor-thin upper class actually felt a difference between the time before and after the opium wars. That doesn’t make the Western countries innocent – but it’s paradoxical when China lectures us about the beautifully innocent country that it used to be before the barbarians arrived – Henry H. K. Liu, for example, has written some nice joke articles in respect of that. Some of the upper classes your country is doing business with bear striking similarities with those of our forefathers here.

    And yes, Western imperialism brought the light-bulbs to China, just as China brought the light-bulbs to Tibet in 1950. Are you in a position to criticize my great-grandfathers?

    It will take negotiations to achieve meaningful global carbon dioxide reduction. And the solution – if any – will not be about what is deemed fair. It will be about what the parties to such a treaty will be ready to accept. Folklore won’t provide the answer.

    (I’m writing in English once in a while because I have currently no Chinese writing software installed here – my previous comment was cut and pasted from existing texts and translation machines.)

  16. I quoted the statistics about how much Europeans consume because I wanted you to see who benefit most from emissions, which was in response to your opinion that both developed countries and developing countries benefit from England’s starting of industry revolution. Of course, all countries benefit from it and all countries benefit from emissions. The key point here is “how much”.
    You can say I want to blame consumers in Europe for using products from China or other developing countries. Well, in this case, “consumers in Europe” are Europeans who consume products from China or other developing countries or their own companies. I think this is reasonable because I was, by comparing how much is consumed by who, comparing the quantities of emissions from which Chinese and European people benefit. Not all Chinese products are manufactured with emissions that are not regulated as toughly as reasonable by Chinese governments. But, Europeans must be responsible for the part of the emissions that Chinese and European negotiators will agree on in the future climate change talks. As for the part that China can and should reduce is our responsibility. But your share of responsibility here is clear.
    Emissions come with products produced; and products are produced for consumption. It’s a reasonable topic in climate change talks. Consumption is a key measure of responsibility sharing.
    The technologies and funds of the West is one of your ways of making up for what you have emitted in the past, which is a major part of today’s global warming problem. If past emissions don’t count in the talks, then this logic applies:
    First, let’s all wait for another 100 years before the world again talk about how to deal with a hotter and hotter Earth with more and more land submerged. During that time, China’s emission per capita a year might have reached the level of one of the wealthiest countries; its consumption per capita a year reached US$ 500,000; it emits 30% of the world’s carbon dioxide; and its emissions per capita are 20 times the world average. Then, when asked to be responsible for the emissions it generated for the past 100 years, China says: “No, we are not responsible for what we’ve emitted and we are not going to provide money and technologies for controlling greenhouse, for free or at a discount. We are only interested in talking about how future emissions will be reduced.”
    It is true that as China slowly climbs the world order ladder, to some extent, China exploits weaker countries, for example, their natural resources (and internally the richer parts of China exploit the poorer parts, e.g. the East vs. Western, incl. Tibet and Xinjiang). Again, such exploitation must be quantified – how much is exploited per capita? China may have done this for dozens of years; but the West has done this for hundreds of years – please note, the current world trade and market system is one of the West’s creations to perpetuate such exploitation though IMF, WTO, UN, World Bank, etc.
    Legal agreements, including binding emission reduction agreements, should be fair. If not, they are not agreements; they are just unequal treaties.

  17. Huolong,

    We have a high degree of global trade and international investment – with the blessings of our governments and legislators. It’s basically an agreement between them. We as citizens may influence our politicians with varying degrees, but as a rule, we won’t directly influence the decisions of the owners or boards of companies. Only legislation can.

    1. Of course, all countries benefit from it and all countries benefit from emissions. The key point here is “how much”. […]
    I believe that this is a matter between you and your government, Huolong. There are economists who have pointed out for some years that Chinese citizens subsidize their bosses’ companies with lower wages – or social insurance contributions – than what would be possible, and with low-performing credits in addition (credits at low interests for the companies, low interests for citizens’ savings). That is the political decision of your government and your central bank – and of course, it drives production, and lowers domestic demand. That’s entirely your domestic business – although it might make sense to discuss the matter at the next Doha or WTO round, if there is one, or in any other kinds of trade negotiations. But I can’t see how you can make this a selling point in your country’s favor at climate control negotiations.
    If you want something really fair, a suggestion could be that every product, no matter where made, should come with a carbon dioxide tax, depending on the emissions it leads to, and to be paid by the consumer who buys it. I’d say that’s really practical and fair, and would make the consumers pay for the co2 emissions caused by their consumption, but do you want that?

    2. Your share of responsibility here is clear. […]
    I don’t think it is really that clear – with point 1. and with my previous comment, I’m trying to explain why I don’t believe it is.

    3. Legal agreements, including binding emission reduction agreements, should be fair. If not, they are not agreements; they are just unequal treaties.
    Maybe the Maldive’s president will comment on Lynas’ account sooner or later – so far, I don’t see that every party to a (possible) future treaty will feel that it is equal or fair (but it might choose to live with the least bad solution). Even within a democratic country, you won’t get equal treaties. If responsibilities were clear, and if the definition of a fair treaty was, our countries wouldn’t be negotiating.

    What I’m writing may come across as polemic, but it isn’t meant to be. It may however appear somewhat aggressive, because I’m not caring about ideologies. But I’m glad to break up some politically correct platitudes. There is no good shepherd for the poorest countries among governments – let alone among corporations. In this field, only NGOs can be of some help – and help. And possibly, at lucky moments, our governments can sometimes find a hierarchy between the problems of the poorest and their own interests.

  18. Then, China can choose to negotiate the greenhouse warming issue 100 years later. By that time, or by the time I die (expected age is 70+ for Chinese men, 40 years remaining), China will side with Germany and other other OECD countries and even may become one member of OECD.

  19. Sure! Almost every country can choose to do so.

  20. 1. What I was talking about was how European consumers compare with Chinese ones in terms of the quantity of things consumed; and you are talking about how little Chinese people manage to get as a percentage of gross national product or whatever because of the social or other wealth-sharing systems. Even if Chinese people got that percentage of GDP or GNP Europeans now enjoy, the absolute numbers are still small in comparison with European figures. In both absolute terms, people in the developed countries consume much, much more than those in developing countries. This is my selling point for my country and other developing countries.

    2. …

    3. You believe that OECD and other wealthy non-OECD countries are not responsible for past emissions. My question is: if they are not, who are?

    Don’t worry. I have no problem with your comments.

    China used to be one of the poorest countries. Without the NGOs, China still has succeeded in realizing the world history’s largest-scale life improvement. I’m not saying that NGOs have no roles to play in the big picture. They can help improve, but the real, practical jobs are done by all the sides involved: governments, companies, consumers, and so on and on. Reason is simple: NGOs don’t have the power to make decisions and implement them. Governments and companies do.

  21. If I saw no responsibility for OECD countries, I wouldn’t say that all future pledges of them must be in line with the Kyoto Protocol, or better than that. But that responsibility comes from the standard of living they have already reached – not from a responsibility from the past. By past emissions, no law was violated, and noone was aware of the fatal potential greenhouse emissions might one day have. You might as well try to find out which country, continent or ethnicity invented the fire.
    You believe that OECD and other wealthy non-OECD countries are not responsible for past emissions. My question is: if they are not, who are?
    My answer: noone is. The only responsibility I see for us is to cut future emissions – either within a global treaty, or unilaterally (and in the unilateral case, it will only be cuts according to our governments’ choosing).
    As for governments, I don’t expect them to make decisions which aren’t in the national interest of their countries (frequently, finding compromises may turn out to be in a national interest, too). I only expect NGOs and individuals to look beyond the level of national interest.
    Companies look beyond, too – but mainly for profit, which in itself quite legitimate. It’s for politics to build the framework in which they may do so.

  22. Past first, future next. Without having settled old accounts, no future account should be agreed on.

    My “Quantity” logic still goes for the Fire argument you raised: “How much fire was/is used by who?” Calculation is simple enough: total emissions and consumption and numbers per capita from Industry Revolutions to 2009.

    OECD countries emitted those greenhouse gasess that are now a major part of the problem. They did it and they are responsible for it. Their unawareness does not exempt them from being held responsible for what they did. This responsibility has nothing to do with Laws. Even if it does, which enforcible Law says in this case OECD countries must or can be exempted simply because they were unaware of the impact what they did would have later on?

  23. Law at the time didn´t have any provisions about greenhouse effects, because these effects were not known. Even when you dealt with actual perpetrators, you could only deal with them in accordance with existing law, and you can´t pass legislation retroactively. For this reason, too, there is no law needed to exempt people or organizations from such liabilities.
    OECD countries emitted those greenhouse gases that are now a major part of the problem. They did it and they are responsible for it.
    Huolong: that´s your dogma. I believe it fits into a more general “we-are-(former)-victims narrative. And maybe it will convince other readers, but it doesn´t convince me. This line of you is of the same quality as the Pope´s “Mary-is-a-virgin”. You may wish to hold OECD countries responsible, for whatever reason, but that doesn´t make them responsible.

  24. JR, so far in our comments and replies, I’ve been using facts and figures, causes and results, all verifiable and quantified, while you’ve been using general statements that want support or are not necessarily relevant to the issue in question.

    The whole issue is not law-related. It’s political. No domestic or international laws were, are and will be enforcible in this case. So the law argument is only a point you raised and argued and but has nothing to do the issue.

    While I cannot convince you with facts, numbers, causes and results, you cannot convince me either with your unsupported “yours are Dogma” argument and accusation of my “victim mentality”. So far, you haven’t said why it is not the responsibility of OECD countries for the past emissions when it’s verifiable and quantified that they perpetrated those emissions. Simply because they don’t want to take it?

  25. Let me quote you, Huolong:
    “Their unawareness does not exempt them from being held responsible for what they did.”
    That wasn’t political; it was a legal category- even more, it implied that there were a level of authority that could enforce it. Don’t blame me for reacting to what you say, Huolong. Reacting to what people say is what a discussion is about.

    My comments above explain why I see no legal, moral, or political responsibility by OECD countries for the past emissions. What do you think makes your facts, numbers, causes and results convincing? I think you need to make it clear why they should be relevant.

  26. No worries. No offence taken…

    OK. It seems that none of us can convince the other. After all, it’s about taking sides. It’s a clashing of interests.

    My conclusion is that if OECD countries can get away from what they did in the past, I see no reason why China should take responsiblity for what it will be doing in the future – in this case, greenhouse gas emisions – because future will eventually become history as times goes by. China can wait for that to happen.

  27. And no offense taken here either. Thanks for making this an unusually lively commenting thread!

  28. More efforts are put in the thread than writing several new posts. :-)

  29. by the way, GFW is now dozing off. I’m now here without using a proxy.

  30. 最重要的是现在根据时间表,这个会议根本就不太可能存在,奥巴马是2009年12月18日晚18:50进入基础四国会场,然后和温家宝等谈出了一个草案,接下来就是中国和美国分头找人磋商了,不太可能出现这个所谓蓄意羞辱奥巴马的场景。如果说的是12月17日的会,确实何亚非去了,但那个时候奥巴马还没有到哥本哈根呢,作者到底说的是哪个会啊?

  31. here comes something interesting: China did sent Mr. He, the vice minister of FMPRC to attend a meeting, but that’s hold on Dec. 17th, 2009 when President Obama didn’t be there yet. And in night Dec. 18th, 2009, Obama and Wenjia Bao already got a deal on the final protocol sometime between 18:50-20:00 that night. after the negotiation, China and US hold deep discussion with their own patenters separately. so here comes the question whether the scenario described in Mr. Mark Lynas blog is a true one or not. It seemed like a ghost meeting.

  32. I’m not familiar with the exact timetables back then. But the American-Chinese differences aren’t at the center of Mr Lynas’ account. While the two sides may have had a mutual agreement at the time, several other countries (among them European ones, Australia, and the Maldives) hadn’t. When mentioning Obama’s “humiliation” at the summit, Lynas (my understanding) refers to meetings prior to the one where countries other than China or the U.S. wanted their respective – unilateral or multilateral – targets be mentioned in the communique.
    It looks unlikely to me that both Lynas and UK climate secretary Miliband would “plot” to make China look bad, and be too sluggish to mind the relevant timetables in their own appointment diaries at that.
    This China Daily article doesn”t seem to question either that there were still issues at the Friday night conference. It only attributed the blame differently.

    As for the “humiliation” issue, we have several versions abailable from the global press and statements, such as these reports, Obama-with-smiles” and Wen Jiabao’s own comments during his press conference on Sunday.

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