Monday, April 6, 2009

Changing China

ChinaDialogue has just published an important article in cooperation with Rutgers CSP that deserves close reading - http://www.csp.rutgers.edu/csp-posts/ccinc.php. Hu Angang is one of ChinaŹ¼s best-known economists. He is professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University and the director of the Centre for China Study, a leading policy think-tank. Hu has worked as the chief editor for China Studies Report, a circulated reference for senior officials. I say all of this because it is not just the opinion voiced in the article that is important but who is expressing it. Here is what deserves attention: heretofore, China's climate policy has been posed in terms of increasing energy efficiency per $ of GDP. That may be a virtue but with a planned growth rate of 8% in GDP over the coming two decades, any gain in efficiency gets quickly dwarfed by the massive increase in the economy. Here Hu Angang is calling for a change to bring China into line with the rest of the major greenhouse gas emitters in framing goals in absolute terms. And while one may take issue with the figures he sets, that should not mask the significance of what he is proposing as well as the fact that it is he who is doing so.

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