Written by William R. Hawkins, FamilySecurityMatters.org
The chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, R K Pachauri, is from India. He is director-general of India-based TERI, The Energy and Resources Institute. It should not be surprising that on July 21st he asserted that his country is in no position to accept emission caps "when developed countries are not doing enough." In a TV interview, Pachauri argued that India should instead take steps towards "sustainable development." This is a buzz word that is taking on different meanings. In the West, liberals use it to claim there can still be economic growth despite crippling Green legislation. In the East, it means economic growth still has top priority, but with some Green caveats. At a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, Pachauri claimed that the G8 nations had "clearly ignored" taking any concrete action to accomplish their new goal of limiting climate change.
The phony requirement to reduce carbon emissions to "save the planet" has created a real division between the developed and developing world. The latter group, which represents the majority of the human race, does not want to be prevented from attaining decent living standards. If one accepts the Green notions that there are limits to growth and that the Earth has a finite carrying capacity that is being rapidly approached, then the only way for the developing countries to advance is for the already developed countries to fall back - or be pushed back. The core issue becomes not mutual growth and cooperation, but redistribution and conflict.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in December at Copenhagen to draft a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty. The "roadmap" to this treaty was set at Bali, Indonesia in 2007. While developed lands like the United States are to have "quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives," the developing states are allowed to temper any such actions within "the context of sustainable
development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building." The double standard allows India, China, and others developing nations to provide safe havens for high emission industries, both domestic and those "outsourced" from developed countries which enact suicidal Green regulations.
At the recent G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, the West made a vain attempt to appease the developing nations within the principle of "differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities." The G-8 pledged to cut their emissions by 80 percent to reach the 50 percent global reduction goal set at the 2008 G-8 meeting. This means the underdeveloped countries could make cuts well below the average. Yet, the developing nations were still having none of it. They continued to reject mandated limits on their growth. The Kyoto Protocol did not require them to cut back, and they do not want the Copenhagen agreement to impose any limits on them either; only on the West.
On July 8th, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo attended the "outreach session" of the G-8 on behalf of President Hu Jintao (who had gone home to deal with the Xinjiang riots). He spoke to the delegations from China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, known as the O-5. He demanded that the international community "respect the right of developing countries to independent economic development, take into full account the specific national conditions of developing countries, and ensure that developing countries enjoy necessary room for development policies." In other words, they should not be constrained by Green regulations. In direct reference to the UNFCCC and the Copenhagen conference, Dai urged continued adherence "to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities." He then called "on countries around the world to take active actions in accordance with the Bali Roadmap, and urge developed countries to make an explicit commitment to continuing taking the lead in emissions reductions and providing developing countries with measurable, reportable and verifiable support in technology, funding and capacity building." This is nothing less than an explicit program for an international transfer of wealth.
In an attempt to square the circle, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during her state visit to India on July 18 that "there is no inherent contradiction between poverty eradication and moving toward a low-carbon economy. The United States wants to see India continue to progress in its development in lifting millions and millions of more people out of poverty and providing greater opportunity for people to pursue their own dreams. And that is something that they would not expect any country to turn away from." Yet, the draconian costs of limiting the carbon emissions and energy use of a modern economy are well known. The "cap and trade" legislation passed by the U.S. House sets a much lower Green target than was discussed at the G-8, but it will make industrial operations nearly impossible, drive energy costs up to unacceptable levels, and impose taxes than will slow activity to a crawl. No government with a growth imperative can entertain such ideas.
Secretary Clinton did not allay these fears when she apologized for America's record of economic progress. She told her Indian audience, "We acknowledge, now with President Obama, that we have made mistakes - the United States - and we, along with other developed countries, have contributed most significantly to the problems that we face with climate change. We are hoping that a great country like India will not make the same mistakes.....we believe India is innovative and entrepreneurial enough to figure out how to deal with climate change while continuing to lift people out of poverty and develop at a rapid rate." In other words, after the emergence of the United States as the world's only superpower, not only should Americans be ashamed of their accomplishment, but India needs to find a different path for its own good. It would be hard to find a statement that would lack more credibility to the people of India or anywhere else where there is still a desire for national improvement.
Secretary Clinton did address a better path for U.S.-India cooperation, even if it is not the priority of the Barack Obama administration. Indian President Manmohan Singh informed Clinton that sites for two nuclear parks had been approved by New Delhi for American companies. On October 1, 2008 the U.S. Senate ratified the civilian nuclear agreement negotiated by the George W. Bush administration allowing India to purchase nuclear fuel and technology from the United States. India wants to expand nuclear power to meet future energy needs, as should America. In India, Clinton had to dispel fears that a G-8 declaration against the proliferation of nuclear technology included restrictions on New Delhi. The G-8 language, which came from a U.S. initiative, was clearly meant for "rogue" states like North Korea and Iran, not India which Washington is courting as a strategic ally to confront both Islamic and Chinese threats.
The Green obsession of the Obama administration and its left-wing constituents is harmful to America's position in a dangerous world. It will hobble domestic economic growth, weakening the financial and industrial strength the country needs to protect itself at home and abroad. It will promote the transfer of productive capacity and wealth to rising rival states like China. It is also driving potential allies like India into an alignment with China and other anti-Western nations based on the perception that the U.S. and Europe want to impose self-destructive liberal nonsense on the rest of the world.
Washington should worry far less about fanciful notions of global climate change and more about the reality of global economic change and menacing changes to the global balance of power. The United States must return to policies that promote growth and provide a framework for alliances that advance mutual progress in world politics, security and prosperity. Green is the color of an extremely bleak future and must be discarded, along with any further participation by the United States in the UNFCCC-Copenhagen process.
Contributing Editor William R. Hawkins is a consultant specializing in international economic and national security issues and a Contributing Editor to FamilySecurityMatters.org