This week, further confirmation that the equity issue is going to derail any chance of an agreement comes from the New York Times:
Negotiators have accepted as all but inevitable that representatives of the 192 nations in the talks will not resolve the outstanding issues in the time remaining before the Copenhagen conference opens in December. The gulf between rich and poor nations, and even among the wealthiest nations, is just too wide.
Remember, the United States refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol because the protocol did not limit emissions in India and China.
Now, most of you have probably heard over and over and OVER again about how there is no point for Americans to lower their emissions if China does not because any drop in American emissions will be offset by an increase in Chinese emissions. We have all heard this meme so much, that perhaps it's not surprising to see this FT/Harris poll. According to the poll, 63% of Americans believe that China must lead the way in emissions cuts, and only 1/5 are in favor of offering aid assistance for adaptation from the developed world to the developing world.
I swear, this poll makes me want to cry.
So let me repeat a few points.
Number one, America outstrips China in terms of historical emissions.
Number two, America outstrips China in terms of per capita emissions.
Number three, America outstrips China in terms of luxury versus survival emissions.
Number four, if carbon emissions were calculated correctly* (where carbon emissions are consumed, not where they are produced), America would once again outstrip China in terms of annual emissions. China's emissions are high in part because they are responsible for manufacturing cheap crap Americans CONSUME. They are not high because the Chinese people are cruising the streets of Shanghai in their pink Hummer limos.
The country that absolutely MUST lead the way in cutting emissions is: America.
Until America starts getting serious about cutting emissions, we will have no real global deal.
*I understand that this is a normative statement, but it's my blog.