Professor Edward Cunningham, director of China Programs and the Asia Energy and Sustainability Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School, reckons that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines. The life of a coal plant is about 40 years, meaning their greenhouse emissions will be with us for some time. Don’t charge these to our account, says Xi. Were Biden to postpone Paris re-entry, there would be time to persuade our allies — who really, really, want us back in the deal — to join us in saying to China that the terms of its continued membership have changed. Agree to reduce emissions like the rest of us. Count emissions from Chinese-financed coal plants as China’s responsibility, which they are. Submit a plan to reduce future emissions. And, to show Xi that “this is where ‘promises, promises’ end”, to borrow from a musical of that name, demand independent verification of that plan. Call it “trust but verify”. Equally important, amend the agreement to include a provision that the European Union appears ready to adopt — a carbon border adjustment mechanism, more commonly called a carbon border tax. The emissions created by the production and distribution of all goods imported into the EU would be estimated, and a tax levied on those emissions.
Times 13th Dec 2020 read more »