Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Green Peace and War

A scenario: Suppose, for the sake of argument, our best science indicates that the continued use of fossil fuels will have not only great but also profoundly negative consequences for human life on earth. Suppose further that the U.S. manages to substitute nuclear, solar, wind, etc. for virtually all our energy (and switches to electric cars).


Given that scenario, if the powers that be in China conclude that the global environmental movement is a trick by the West to keep them down and, therefore, China keeps building new coal-fired plants and using gas-powered cars, thus creating environmental hazar for the rest of us. Would the U.S. have a legitimate cause of war upon China? Discuss.

Discussions - 2 Comments

No, but the United States and most likely Europe would put significant pressure on China. It might even be possible that McCain is simply going green because of diplomatic pressure. Basically no one will do anything too drastic about global warming for the simple fact that nations might be stuck in a game theory situation. Whatever is done doesn't have to be done by everyone...except for the fact that right now a some economists are argueing that China's growth rate should be discounted because they are not optimally green/open society/market oriented...my guess is that China will lag behind "optimal" greeness, but will still move somewhat with the pack provided the argument can be made that it is in its economic interest to do so. One reason for cap and trade which isn't strictly economic is that it might eventually be made to synchronize well with the ETS. Of course this would simply be an even greater winfall for the French (who are mostly nuclear), on the other hand it would be very bad for the coal industry in the United States...to say nothing of China...which would absolutely refuse such suicide...so getting China off coal could be a major problem. Since it probably isn't going to happen it has repercussions for how everything is measured.

On the other hand China is going to be forced to do something about its coal power(80%), not simply for environmental reasons but for economic reasons.

Some guys who put a lot of emphasis on human capital think China is in big trouble, they focus not simply on the fact that China is burning coal, but that China is underpricing electricity and coal...by ignoring human lives, safety and employing a command and control system that is inept from a strictly economic view point...depending on how they calculate the externalities and if they factor in polution as well you can see numbers from 2-9% of total GDP loss(which means that some people think China is going backwards?)

No sense in going to war with China...but in truth any agreement on Global warming that is international will basically run into serious sovereingty issues that make for strange looking iterated prisoner delimma and all the usual problems that afflict Cartels. Think OPEC cartel vs. ETS Green cartel+US cap-and-trade.

I can't believe people in China are not going to be putting pressure on the government of China and industry to do something about their pollution. People I know who have been there and the few I have met who are from there say that some cities are just about unlivable, the air is so thick. Look
at the mess they make.

Chinese industry doesn't have to get off coal, it needs to use pollution control technology that is available. Contra John Lewis' point, though I agree with him, a Chinese economist speaking at my college said that the move to private ownership as what caused Chinese pollution. He was telling us that if the means of production were owned by the government there would be no pollution. He was no historian.

Anyway, given that one map I offered that shows the path of China's wind-blown pollution, Japan has cause to declare war on China for invading its airspace. Call it "Environmental aggression?"

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