India, China React to U.S. Election

by William Yeatman on November 18, 2008

Developing countries are worried that they would face increased expectations to commit to economically harmful emissions reductions if President-elect Barack Obama follows through with a campaign promise to align with the European Union and orchestrate a global response to global warming. To date, developing countries have faced little diplomatic pressure to act on the climate because the Bush administration refused to commit to an international climate treaty. As a result, the EU has spent its diplomatic capital trying to convince the U.S. to join and largely has ignored developing countries, even though they account for half of current emissions. If, however, President-elect Obama reversed the Bush administration’s international climate strategy, a united EU-U.S. would likely demand that developing countries commit to steep emissions cuts. So it’s no wonder that China and India chose the week after Obama’s victory in the presidential elections to demonstrate their unwillingness to put global warming over economic growth. China’s government unveiled their climate plan this week. The centerpiece is to exact a commitment from developed countries to give 1% of their GDP—about $300 billion annually—to building a clean energy infrastructure in China and other developing countries. India’s government held a conference in New Delhi, called Climate Change: Business Sustainability and Society, during which Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal announced that a global action plan to fight climate change was unworkable.

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