The People’s Republic of China is the #1 greenhouse gas emitter (having only recently raced past the U.S. to the top of this list), and last week the country’s government ordered a huge increase in coal production. Nonetheless, the Middle Kingdom is “doing it right” when it comes to climate change, according to Christiana Figueres, the top climate diplomat at the United Nations.
You might think to yourself: “What’s China’s secret for ‘doing it right’ (despite all those emissions)?” The answer, according to Figueres, is the absence of civil liberties.
China is also able to implement policies because its political system avoids some of the legislative hurdles seen in countries including the U.S., Figueres said.
Key policies, reforms and appointments are decided at plenums, or meeting of the governing Communist Party’s more than 200-strong Central Committee. The National People’s Congress, China’s unicameral legislature, largely enforces decisions made by the party and other executive organs.
The political divide in the U.S. Congress has slowed efforts to pass climate legislation and is “very detrimental” to the fight against global warming, she said.
Already, there’s a consensus among social scientists that reducing GHG emissions to fight climate change would harm the economy. Now we learn from the United Nations that “doing [global warming policy] right” is facilitated by the forfeiture of freedom.
Of course, this raises a question, one that is asked frequently on this blog. What’s worse: The climate change or the climate change policies? I, for one, am less frightened of my grandchildren enduring warmer winters than I am of their eking out an impoverished existence under the thumb of a despot. Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, the top UN climate diplomat just endorsed tyranny as a global warming solution, and the President’s top science adviser is on record advocating for deindustrialization.