Friday, December 18, 2009

China's "Dialogue" on Climate Change

China's Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs He Yafei is quoted in thie morning's National Post as saying with regard to the Chinese Government's position on the Copenhagen negotiations on climate change measures that "I think the financial issue is very important. Whatever initiative these countries will announce is a good step.  .  .  . in terms of mitigation actions [emissions curbs], we can also consider, international exchange, dialogue and co-operation that is not intrusive and does not infringe upon our sovereignty" ("China may compromise with U.S. on emissions cuts after $100B pledge"

But as with all of China's international treaty commitments, including those to the UN on human rights, the crux of the matter is that once the terms are set and the documents signed and sealed, then the discussion and negotiations about the nature of the mutual obligations agreed to have to cease.  That means that China cannot blithely accept the West's billions and then claim national sovereignty protects China from having the West "intrude" to ensure that China is in fact keeping its side of the deal.  The key is "trust but verify."  Specious Chinese processes of "international exchange, dialogue and co-operation" after the West has cut China a huge cheque cannot be used to obstruct and obfuscate effective verification measures designed to ensure that China is in fact delivering on what Canada and our allies are asked to pay for.

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