Saturday, March 23, 2013

State of the Climate...Debate (in China)

It is appalling that a US Representative, elected by the people, holds the belief that anthropogenic (human induced) climate change is not a big problem. That there is a need for the NCSE in the United States is a sad reminder of the ignorance that I left behind when I moved here more than two years ago. Asked "Is the earth's climate changing?" 49.9% of [American] respondents said, "Yes, I'm convinced," and 33.5% said, "Probably yes, but I'd like more evidence," while only 8.5% said, "Probably no, but more evidence could convince me," and only 7.6% said, "No, there isn't any solid evidence." (http://ncse.com/news/2013/02/new-poll-climate-change-0014705) Yet the 16.1% have a lot of sway in the halls of our democracy.

In China this "climate debate" is non-existent. A combination of the focus on science in the education system and the hegemony of a secular (atheist?) state mean that Creationists and so-called "climate-deniers" are not given a spot at the podium--the nonsense is back-benched. Instead, another problem exists: corruption. Sinopec does not fight the science; they fight the financing of the necessary changes in policy. The euphemism used by the New York Times in an article entitled As Pollution Worsens in China, Solutions Succumb to Infighting is "infighting," but the article lays out the real problem:
The state-owned enterprises are given critical roles in policy-making on environmental standards. The committees that determine fuel standards, for example, are housed in the buildings of an oil company...Fuel standards are issued by the Standardization Administration of China, which convenes a committee and a subcommittee to research standards. They each have 30 to 40 members, almost all of whom are from oil companies... 
Dire predictions from Deutsche Bank about the expected number of cars on the road by 2030 mean “a strong government will to overcome the opposition from interest groups” is necessary to begin the work that must be done.