July 27, 2009
Obama: Cooperation with China Key to Avoid ‘Ravages’ of Climate Change
Rarely, if ever, are Yao Ming and Mencius quoted in the same speech. President Obama turned to both reknowned Chinese philosophers today to kick off the big U.S.-China summit in Washington.
As promised, energy and the environment take high priority—second only to fixing the global financial system. Mr. Obama put it in stark terms: “Will the need for energy breed competition and climate change, or will we build partnerships to produce clean power and to protect our planet?”
But was there anything of substance? Mr. Obama stressed the need for both countries to work together on clean energy and energy efficiency. They’ve already announced joint projects in both areas. He also urged the U.S. and China to work together to make sure the global climate talks in Copenhagen don’t collapse into farce.
But one phrase in particular will probably lead to some between-the-lines readings: “And the best way to foster the innovation that can increase our security and prosperity is to keep our markets open to new ideas, new exchanges, and new sources of energy,” Mr. Obama said.
Is that a reference to the spat over “carbon tariffs” the House included in the Waxman-Markey bill, and which President Obama, the Senate, China, and pretty much the rest of the world are so worked up about?
Or is that a reference to the spat over how to share clean technology with developing nations without weakening intellectual-property provisions? Poor countries want lots of new technology, but the people that make that stuff worry they’ll be thrown under the bus in the name of the global climate fight.
By the way, Mencius has another gem that seems custom-crafted for the looming impasse at the Copenhagen climate talks: “Let men decide firmly what they will not do, and they will be free to do vigorously what they ought to do.”