“President Obama called on world leaders to come to an agreement on climate change, no matter how imperfect,” the New York Times reported today.
The Times also said that Obama “pressed for an accord that would monitor whether countries — primarily China — are complying with promised emissions cuts.” Dean Baker made a good point that should be kept in mind when reading all of the analysis from the climate summit, and about America’s noble effort to save the planet:
The current view in the U.S. appears to be that the Chinese should forever commit themselves to emitting greenhouse gases at one-third or one-quarter the per capita rate as people in the United States.
“Our rationale is apparently that we started polluting the planet first; therefore, we get some sort of squatters’ rights in the deal. Needless to say, the Chinese are not impressed by this logic. If the U.S. were in a position to impose its will in this matter on China, then it wouldn’t matter that our negotiating position makes no sense. But we aren’t.
“If we want an agreement, then we will have to depart in a very fundamental way from the current position. We do need China to restrict its greenhouse gas emissions, but we will need to compensate it for this.
Gee, that sounds familiar.