Last week, describing US-China negotiations related to climate change, Rep. Edward Markey quipped, “This is going to be on one of the most complex diplomatic negotiations in the history of the world.”
The netisphere is grateful this week to the incredible series of posts from both Charlie McElwee of China Environmental Law and Julian Wong of the Green Leap Forward /Center for American Progress on this topic.
First up, Charlie's series on both China and the US' positions six months out from Copenhagen, including tremendous summaries of the diplomatic challenges as well as in-fighting going on within each country:
6/1: Copenhagen Countdown China's Climate Change Position
6/2: Copenhagen Countdown US' Climate Change Pposition
6/3: Copenhagen Countdown T-6 Months Wrap Up
6/4: No Climate Deal Without China
(Also recommended is his three-part series from February: US China Climate Change Engagement Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)
Charlie's posts are so good, that having read them just before watching Todd Stern's talk Wednesday at CAP, I was left with the distinct feeling that I wish Mr. McElwee were the US' top climate negotiator instead of Mr. Stern...
Next, Julian's great work for CAP on exactly what China has been up to on the climate front:
6/3: Climate Progress in China: A Primer on Recent Developments
6/4: China Begins Its Transition to a Clean Energy Economy
Like Charlie's posts, these are comprehensive summaries that - along with the myriad links contained within them - are recommended reading both for people just getting up to speed on these issues and those buried deep in them.
Lastly, I haven't posted too much on the US-China climate change negotiations largely because I think others out there (like Charlie and Julian) are already doing a terrific job. However, I did want to show one figure that I think is at the core of why this is such a diplomatic challenge. I like to call this this figure if you only look at one graph this year related to US-China climate negotiations, make it this one:
Source: the Asia Society's Roadmap for US-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change
This is an excellent figure, because it encompasses in parallel perhaps the three most important numbers (both absolute and relative) that matter for each country going into the US-China climate dialogue. It is critical that all three of these graphs be acknowledged simultaneously, because the selective ignoring of any one can drastically change one's perspective on who bears responsibility for acting and on what scale.