Exporting Our Greenhouse Gases to China

If you want a Chinese perspective on global warming, a good place to start is this China Daily opinion piece, “Climate change is reshaping global politics.” Pang Zhongying, a research fellow with the Joint Program on Globalization under the CRF-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, makes some points worth remembering, especially:

Western countries and industrialized Asian nations like Japan and the Republic of Korea have moved many of their factories to developing countries such as China and India, where cheap labor allows them to manufacture at lower costs than at home. This globalization of production has resulted in the discharge of much more waste in poor nations that otherwise would have been released in developed countries. As a matter of fact, not all of the greenhouse gases released “in China” or “from China” are really “China’s”.

Think of our large and growing trade deficit with China as the U.S. exporting industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Worse still, China has a more coal-intensive industrial base, so producing things there generates far more pollution than had we produce the same goods here.