I am taking a break in my regular work routine with a planned stay at Peking University in Beijing for the next month. I have been so overwhelmed with transport-sector-related work over the past few months (I’ll post the report I co-wrote with David Prentice for the Treasury once I get the authority to do so) that my interests in climate change have been put on the backburner. While in China I want to spend some time thinking about the UN negotiations to be held in Copenhagen later this year and the China-US link in particular. I have written a theory piece that will be published soon and have been gathering a file of new more empirical material.
China has low per capita energy consumptions and low energy efficiencies. In many respects however it has taken climate change more to heart than has the US. China is primarily an agricultural country which faces severe medium term water supply issues. Coastal areas such as Shanghai would be devastated by sea-level change.
Strategically these facts mean that China has strong incentives to address climate change as it industrialises. This provides no discipline for the notori0us US climate change procrastinators to act.
A more nuanced account will hopefully follow.