Sunday, October 11, 2009

Going Beyond Headlines: China, South Korea And Japan

It took a while to find some actual news from the big meeting in Beijing between leaders of China, South Korea (ROK) and Japan. Most reports just repeat the same claims, but this was actually a unique meeting and the three countries are clearly getting closer. The world is changing fast.

Reuters claimed that Japan PM asks China for climate commitment which is a bit of a stretch, but ok, it cuts to the chase.

Hatoyama, who took office on September 15, has pledged Tokyo will cut emissions 25 percent by 2020 and hopes emerging nations like China will also sign up to an ambitious global deal.

China is now the world's top annual emitter of greenhouse gasses although on a per person basis it is still far behind industrialized nations. President Hu Jintao recently announced plans for a carbon intensity goal, which would lead to greener growth but not guarantee an overall fall in emissions.

Over at the Chinese official news site, People's Daily, they publish the text of the leaders' joint statement on sustainable development in detail, about "developing the green economy" and to work closely to contribute to the successful achievement of the Copenhagen Conference in December. Here are some highlights (quoted from Xinhua):

The areas of cooperation indicated in the statement are as follows:

-- endorse the 10 priority cooperation areas identified at the 11th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM), such as biodiversity conservation, environment awareness, encourage the development of a tripartite joint action plan which is to be adopted at the 12th TEMM in 2010, and take joint practical measures to facilitate cooperation; further promote sustainable environment management;

-- explore the establishment of a China-Japan-ROK circular economy model base in the spirit of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and to make joint efforts to promote resource-conserving and environment-friendly industrial structure, growth pattern and consumption mode.

-- Promote the China-Japan-ROK Joint Research Collaboration Program, carry out diverse forms of exchanges and cooperation, and bring into play the role of scientific and technological progress and innovation as the engine of resolution of common regional issues and economic development.

-- Establish a mechanism for meeting of ministers responsible for water resources in due course, focusing on integrated river management and water resources management adapting to climate change.

-- Promote cooperation in sustainable forest management and wildlife protection, and work together to facilitate harmonious development between man and nature.

-- Work closely together and spearhead cooperative efforts in international frameworks for energy cooperation, aiming to promote sustainable development through deployment of clean energy and improvement of energy efficiency.

-- Explore tripartite cooperation mechanisms in agriculture.

-- Work closely through strengthened dialogue among the three countries to contribute to the successful achievement of the Copenhagen Conference, including the establishment of an effectivepost-2012 international cooperation framework on climate change, consistent with the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in particular common but differentiated responsibilities.

"Developing the green economy" has become a buzzword especially in South Korea, where they also call it "green growth" - things we discussed when I spoke at the MCED Civil Society Forum in Seoul in 2005: Seoul Initiative on Green Growth.

I'm pleased that they mention biodiversity here as well, and rivers, and the 3Rs... All in all, a pretty impressive to-do list from three countries that need to cooperate more to avoid further chaos and environmental destruction, and going beyond that to create new models for development.


Li Meng said...

Good job! I love your analysis

Martin J Frid said...

Thanks Meng, good luck with your blog, hope you can develop it further with more original content.