The Copenhagen climate talks are reported here to have graduated to the stage where they are negotiating the costs to different countries, the developed world financing most of the cost of reducing carbon emissions. One dispute appears to me to be a bit of resentment over trade balances.
Todd Stern, the special U.S. climate envoy, called the text “constructive” but singled out the section on helping poor countries lower their growth of carbon emissions as “unbalanced.” He said the requirements on industrial countries were tougher than on developing nations and the section was not “a basis for negotiation.”
China’s public stance remained unyielding, and Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei took Stern to task for remarks Wednesday that no U.S. climate money would go to Beijing. In unusually blunt language, He said Stern either “lacks common sense” or was “extremely irresponsible.”
Restrictions are less for developing countries based on the observation that the developed world is mostly responsible for climate change when developing themselves. Perhaps it is sensible though that today–with better technology and cleaner energy available–the undeveloped world can make progress without the same costs to the environment.
I have yet to see comparisons of what emissions were for comparable energy consumption, say 40 years ago compared to today. I do remember living in Long Beach, CA in 1969-1970. There were regular news warnings for people not to exercise outside because of the poor atmosphere. It sometimes hurt my throat and lungs to take a deep breath.
Now in China, the smoggy air is often obvious. It is/was a problem worth avoiding in both times.