Building the Post-Kyoto future: the new U.S.-Asian pact on global warming has more to do with transferring technology to China than with saving the planet from greenhouse gases.
The new pact is noteworthy for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it is concrete proof that the Bush administration, internationally castigated for its reluctance to embrace the draconian Kyoto Accord, views global warming as a threat. There is more to the story, though, than .just the Bush administration's embrace of global warming orthodoxy. That was never really in doubt anyway.
The real story about the new pact has largely been ignored. To listen to most reports in the mainstream media, the new pact is a unilateral move by the United States to undermine Kyoto. What is missed or ignored is that the pact, negotiated over a period of months in near complete secrecy, amounts to an internationally constructed plan to send aid, in the form of high technology, to foreign nations. In the case of China, these foreign aid plans are particularly dangerous.
The Blair Factor
Constrained since taking office by popular conservative disdain of global warming alarmism, the Bush administration has had to steer the nation away from the UN's Kyoto Accord. That treaty mechanism, favored by leftists in Europe and elsewhere, would have required reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases to such a degree that the U.S. economy would have been severely harmed. By one widely cited estimate, the cost of implementing Kyoto would be a staggering $716 billion. Since abandoning Kyoto, the Bush administration (which has been eager to find a global warming plan it could call its own) has been under severe and continual pressure to either reconsider or implement some other related plan.
The principal agent of this pressure campaign has been the office of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Though the House of Lords recently released a report critical of the science behind the anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming hypothesis, Blair has consistently advocated policies supposedly formulated to fight the perceived threat of climate change. Usually he has done so in a way that points the finger at America.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 26, for instance, Blair pointed to purported differences in opinion between the UK and the U.S., and urged the two countries to work together on the issue. "On both, there are differences that need to he reconciled," he said. "And if they could be reconciled or at least moved forward, it would make a huge difference to the prospects of international unity, as well as to people's lives and our future survival."
Blair turned up the pressure at the recent G8 Summit held in Gleneagles, Scotland. Overshadowed by the terrorist attacks on the London transit system that occurred during the summit was Blair's continued call for the United States to do something about global warming. This time, he emphasized that he wasn't looking for the United States to join Kyoto per se, but to do something technological that would have an impact. "What I am trying to do at the G8," Blair said during an appearance on MTV, "is say: 'America is not going to sign the Kyoto Treaty, let's leave that to one side.'"
Instead, what Blair wanted to focus on was an effort to move beyond Kyoto. Foreshadowing the announcement of the U.S.-Asian pact on climate change that would be unveiled just weeks later, Blair, exercising the presidency of the G8, invited both China and India to the summit. Noting during a summit press conference that it will be "emerging economies, like China, like India, who, in the future, are going to be the major consumers of energy," the British prime minister steered the summit toward a joint "communique" that emphasized the need to invest in clean technologies and to help developing countries. "We will promote innovation ... and accelerate deployment of cleaner technologies," said the heads of state in The Gleneagles Communique. "We will work with developing countries to enhance private investment and transfer of technologies, taking into account their own energy needs and priorities."
Implementing the Post-Kyoto Plan
The press, both in the United States and elsewhere, has been working to paint the U.S.-Asian pact as the surprising action of a renegade superpower. Soon after the pact was announced, for instance, the London Times reported: "The British Government appears to have been caught unawares by the announcement of a six-country pact spearheaded by the United States and Australia to promote cleaner energy technologies across the Asia-Pacific."
In fact, the pact could not have been much of a surprise at all to the Blair government. Indeed, in its major provisions, it is essentially identical to the Blair-engineered G8 Communique. During the press conference when the pact was announced on July 28 in Vientiane, Laos, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick seemed like he was reading directly from the G8 script. The pact, Zoellick told the assembled press, "focuses on the interests of energy, both energy security, but also energy efficiency. It focuses on the vital role of energy in development and it also focuses on the issues of climate change. It opens up the possibilities for developing, deploying, and transferring cleaner, more efficient technologies."
A "vision statement" issued by the nations party to the pact also echoed G8 sentiments. According to the joint statement, the parties pledged to "work together, in accordance with our respective national circumstances, to create a new partnership to develop, deploy and transfer cleaner, more efficient technologies and to meet national pollution reduction, energy security and climate change concerns, consistent with the principles of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change."
This statement is important because it confirms that the Bush administration supports the principles of Kyoto. But greater ramifications may come from the pact's explicitly stated goal of technology transfer, especially to Communist China.
With regard to China, the pact has two goals. First is the obvious goal of helping the Chinese convert energy production from older polluting technologies to the cleaner technologies coming online in the West. The second and more important goal is to give China (and India) technologies that can generate power more efficiently in the hopes of slaking that nation's growing thirst for oil. At present, demand for fossil fuels in China is growing rapidly and may be approaching a crisis point. This, certainly, is the reality that drove the failed attempt of the government-run Chinese National Offshore Oil Company to purchase UNOCAL this summer. It was also the motivation for China National Petroleum Corp., another government-run energy company, to make the successful acquisition of the formerly Canadian-owned PetroKazakhstan for $4.18 billion.
Realistically, technology and other assistance transferred to the Chinese via the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate will likely have very little impact on that nation's demand for energy. China is already the second-largest consumer of oil after the U.S., using some 5.5 million barrels daily. But it hasn't been enough. According to the Washington Post, in some areas China has "started rationing electric power to industrial plants, and several cities suffered brownouts during heat waves last summer."
Though it won't even make a dent in China's rapacious demand for energy, technology transfer will have an impact, and one that could harm U.S. interests. Chinese firms operating in the current neo-fascist Chinese economic system already flood the U.S. market with goods made cheap by government subsidies. Transferring advanced energy technologies to China will only serve to undermine the current technological edge Western firms depend on to remain competitive.
A more sinister possibility, though, is that the envisioned technology transfers will result in the further strengthening of the dangerous People's Liberation Army (PLA). It is wellknown that the PLA already envisions the United States as its chief military rival of the future, that it has designs on the free people of Taiwan, and that it is aggressively modernizing its technology to allow force projection beyond Chinese territory.
According to authors Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II, the PLA receives much of its funding for these efforts from the commercial enterprises it controls. In the book Red Dragon Rising, Timperlake and Triplett note: "By some accounts, the PLA's business empire comprises 20,000 companies, employing 600,000 people and having a turnover of at least $20 billion per year." PLA industries make more than guns. According to Timperlake and Triplett, the Washington Post reported that by 1998, the PLA "controlled 20 percent of China's automotive industry and ran nearly 400 pharmaceutical factories, 1,500 hotels, and four of China's 10 biggest clothing factories." The PLA does all this under its doctrine of "Military-Civilian Unity." Transferring high-tech energy production equipment and expertise to Communist China will only tend to increase the power of the PLA.
Nevertheless, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate will likely be the model for future international efforts to combat the supposed dangers of global warming. "The question is," said Prime Minister Blair during the G8 summit, "can we, as we go forward, create the conditions in which, when Kyoto ends--which it does in 2012--it's possible for the world to move into consensus." The U.S.-Asia-Pacific pact is the first manifestation of that new international consensus, one that may lead to a more dangerous world.
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|Title Annotation:||GLOBAL WARMING|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Date:||Nov 14, 2005|
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