Target: Su Wei, China’s National Development and Reform Commission
Goal: Denounce China’s failure to pursue a carbon emissions cap
During the first half of 2013 global policymakers hinted at the possibility that China would announce a landmark comprehensive carbon emissions cap. The Financial Times and ThinkProgress among other media outlets initially reported “that China [was] looking to introduce a cap in 2016,” adding to their existing carbon-trading pilot program. After weeks of speculation Su Wei, China’s Chief Climate Negotiator at UN talks in Bonn, Germany, dismissed this possibility and stated that “the [National Development and Reform Commission] would reaffirm that [they are] committed to a carbon-intensity target by 2020” instead.
The “carbon-intensity” model specifies reductions of emissions based upon per dollar amounts of economic output. Essentially this means that emissions would still be allowed to increase over time in absolute terms despite reductions in the rate of increase. The potential carbon emissions cap, however, would set an effective nationwide “carbon ceiling” limiting reductions nationwide much more stringently.
Meanwhile, China’s environmental record continues to generate notoriety. According to World Bank data reported by CBS News “16 of the world’s top 20 most polluted cities are in [China],” with Beijing recently experiencing such severely hazardous air quality that it broke the upper threshold of the Air Quality Index. (The Air Quality Index, established and revised by the Environmental Protection Agency, runs on a 0-500 scale; Beijing reported an astonishing Air Quality Index reading exceeding 700 in January 2013.)
China’s unsustainable environmental policies threaten the health and well-being of their domestic population. Denounce China’s failure to enact a critical emissions cap and demand immediate, sincere efforts to reduce their environmental impacts.
Dear Su Wei,
Recent reports that China was considering a comprehensive cap on carbon emissions were met with surprise and widespread support globally. As the world’s leading industrial polluter with notorious air quality problems nationwide, China had the unique opportunity to reverse course and safeguard the health of its population and its ecological assets. Unfortunately, your recent statements contradicting these earlier reports indicate that such bold and progressive moves toward sustainability are less than forthcoming.
Although your proposed “carbon intensity” reduction plans still indicate an important increased attention to China’s environmental footprint this is a much less effective tool for combating environmental degradation and climate change. The world will closely watch your progress through the implementation of your “carbon intensity” and carbon-trading pilot programs, which are important steps toward improving a hazardous situation for many Chinese citizens. We, the undersigned, strongly encourage you to reconsider the carbon emissions cap and demand sincere follow through with all extant policy plans.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: F3rn4nd0 via Wikimedia Commons