That said, I think we have a right to be skeptical — given the Bush-like doubletalk from the Chinese foreign minister and especially given that Wen seems utterly unaware the first half of the commitment is utterly meaningless.
After all, China’s GDP growth in the last few years has been about 10% per year. If that growth is maintained, then GDP will rise over 60% in five years — which means energy use could rise
40% 29% (!) over thost 5 years, and China would still hit its target to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent (per unit of GDP). That would do nothing to “reduce carbon emissions.”
Let’s hope Wen doesn’t mean China will strive to keep carbon emissions (per unit of GDP) at 2005 levels.
If he does mean an absolute cap on China’s emissions, then this is stunning news and means a global deal is almost certainly possible — once we have a new President.