The coming war of words (hopefully just that) over who is being green and who isn’t

China hits back at US criticism on human rights after the US needles China with human rights criticism, China responds with Human Rights Record of United States in 2008. From its preface: “As in previous years, the [United States’] reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but mention nothing of the widespread human rights abuses on its own territory.”

From Metafilter.

Ongoing and, as much as it has reached a few crisis flash points in the past, we’re largely aware of it and how to use it to our advantage, as are our 700 million Chinese brothers. But how long before these kinds of international conflicts extend to greenhouse gas emissions? Shouldn’t we lay in some provisions, keep some powder dry, as the sayings go? What would any of that mean?

One reason the Kyoto Protocol was rejected by the US government after being widely ratified worldwide was that it would have forced on us measures to curtail emissions whereas other countries would be able to continue developing/polluting for a while, putting the US at a competitive disadvantage, yada yada. But… what if we began preparing for these days as if they might well come, when we have open conflict with China about carbon emissions?

A further, really nasty question while I’m at it – what will be the Tiananmen Square  of the battle to wrest control of out-of-control greenhouse gas emissions? And to which nation/system will it seed political advantage? Note: (this does not automatically assume that said political advantage from 1989 democracy demonstrations in Beijing accrued in the direction of anyone other than CNN).

You’d be right to ask what we/they might do to lay a few cobblestones on the high road? Mandate and subsidize solar roofing materials for all? Incentivise train taking? Look for ways to flatten out and reduce overall demand for power and energy? Pan really way out and see this not as a conflcit but an opportunity for cooperation and collaboration? Whoa… eyes… blurry.

Inquiring minds should want to know.