Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Two Sides to the Obama-Xi Bargain on HFCs

Part of me feels that the agreement on HFCs announced after the Obama-Xi summit in Rancho Mirage this past weekend is too little, too late. Despite the fact that it involves some big numbers, and the fact that HFCs have a high degree of warming power, it is little more than a fig leaf that dodges the real need: to discuss fundamental shifts in our paradigms about economic and social success.

"Hot? ... I guess some people would call it hot, yeah .... "
U.S. President Barack Obama and China's leader Xi Jinping talk climate

Of course, another part of me is amazed that there was even any discussion of global warming and the environment at the summit at all. To what do we owe this honor?

(I have a mental image of Obama and Xi, sitting around with nothing to talk about -- at least after the much-touted cybersecurity topic turned uncomfortable in the midst of the firestorm over the Snowden leaks about NSA domestic surveillance . . . .  "Hey, how about that global warming, huh?")

In any event, perhaps the New York Times is right to say that having any kind of climate agreement at all provides "momentum toward a broader global agreement aimed at the reduction of other greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide."

Let's hope so. We're going to need a lot of momentum to extract the Earth from the jeopardy in which it is placed by being wedged between the competing agendas of the United States and China.

MORE: #chinaEARTHusa - Radical Change? or Planetocide?

Related posts

It has been announced that China and the U.S. will hold a top leadership meeting at the beginning of June. If the past is any indication, we will get a lot of cautious, lukewarm pronouncements about cooperation that don't begin to address the reality. It's time for activists in the U.S. and China to join hands and start to militate for radical change. We need a zero-carbon USA and a zero-carbon China. Anything less is planetocide.

(See #chinaEARTHusa - Radical Change? or Planetocide? )

Shouldn't Obama talk seriously about alternative energy generation? After all, they will be meeting near one of the most breathtaking monuments to humankind's determination to break free of fossil fuels -- the San Gorgino Pass Wind Farm near Palm Springs, California.

(See Shooting the Breeze about #chinaEARTHusa )

China would like nothing better than to cut its carbon emissions. By all means, let the U.S. demonstrate how this can be accomplished -- while maintaining standards of living at the same time, if you please --  and China can be counted on follow the U.S. lead (as in so many other areas of development).

(See Obama's Tribute Mission to China )