The US and China must lead

by Mike Gaworecki

March 23, 2009

Greenpeace China launched a 10-month global warming campaign with a couple of really cool projections today (pics below, or view the slideshow). The campaign is meant to highlight the urgency of the global climate crisis and the impacts global warming will have on the world. In the next ten months GP China will hold a series of events to call attention to the massive impacts from global warming in China. You can expect many more Greenpeace events in other countries, as well, including right here in the U.S.A., as we lead up to the UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

Greenpeace projection in Beijing
Beijing, China, March 23, 2009. Greenpeace China projected a message onto Yong Ding Gate that read in English:“Time is Running Out to Stop Global Warming” and also projected Chinese versions. Greenpeace China is calling on the Chinese government for strong climate rescue actions. Greenpeace China also asked China President Hu Jintao to personally attend the Copenhagen Climate Summit and work with world’s leaders to come up with a binding treaty to stop global warming. © Su Li/ Greenpeace

Greenpeace Hong Kong Projection
Hong Kong, China, March 23, 2009. Greenpeace activists project a message on to the side of Government House in Hong Kong’s financial district, urging the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, to attend a key United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen this December, instead of just sending along a few junior officials, as has done in the past for previous international climate change conferences. Greenpeace is also calling for the Hong Kong Government to bring into legislation a comprehensive climate change policy with specific carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets for the city, in line with the requirements set under the Kyoto Protocol agreement. © Alex Hofford/ Greenpeace

The US and China are both critical to an agreement in Copenhagen, and criticial to addressing global warming on a global basis. China has, for the past several years, been the latest in a series of excuses used to delay action on global warming by many American politicians, but the reality is that China is already investing in renewable energy. It’s also important to remember that while China recently surpassed the US in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, China has 1.3 billion people to our 300 million. Per capita, Americans emit four times as much greenhouse gas emissions. Unless we’re able to reach a deal in Copenhagen in December, those 1.3 billion people will soon be burning fossil fuels at the rate we do, and that would be catastrophic.

There’s also an important economic reason to work with China to address global warming. China is building wind energy at a stunning rate and making massive investments in other renewable energy sources. If the US doesn’t stay competitive with China in innovation and implementation of solutions to global warming, then, in addition to facing the specter of unchecked climate change, we run the risk of letting China get ahead economically and technologically.

As we get close to December and the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, expect us to be sending the message loud and clear: Both China and the US have to do more and have to work together to stop global warming. Greenpeace is calling on President Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao to not only lead their own countries but to work together to lead the world.

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