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Bernard: So there are plenty of compelling motives for "going wind" besides emission reduction.

That is a good point.  It would be interesting to look at all the specific measures China is taking and the ones it could take but isn't, and to see whether they point to other motivations besides emissions reduction, such as energy security (e.g. reduced reliance on the Straits of Malacca) and economic gains (e.g. "green jobs").  In particular, are there any measures we could look at that could only be motivated by emissions reduction, and that would not contribute much to energy security and/or economic gains?  Maybe more stringent emissions regulations, and more stringent enforcement of such regulations?  Maybe mandatory installation of equipment in industries or residences that filter and/or capture noxious gases (though this, conceivably, might be tainted by an economic motivation to create jobs for the makers and installers of such equipment, assuming they are Chinese)?  Any others?  If we can identify a list of such "purely for emissions reduction" measures, then we can then look into whether the Chinese government is acting on these.

Bernard: China is quickly becoming one of the most polluted countries on earth

I think those photographs (which are amazing and disturbing) are similar to Obama's remarks about China's "moving" on renewable energy: it doesn't prove the point, but it illustrates it vividly.

Bernard: and there is very little motivation for the plutocrats to really harness the issue: it would only cut into their profit.

Which is why China's government has been so aggressive in mandating renewable energy initiatives.  (I assume China's government counts as part of China's "überclass".)  But then again, as noted above, these initiatives may not be motivated by the desire to avoid harm caused by carbon emissions (e.g. massive health crisis, rising sea levels, etc.) but rather in order to increase energy security and to gain economic benefits.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 03:46:35 AM EST
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