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Stance at Climate Conference Brings Costs for China

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to say in a podcast that a deal at Copenhagen was “held to ransom by a handful of countries.” His climate secretary wrote, more specifically, that it was China that had “vetoed” crucial proposals the entire developed world and most of the developing world stood behind.

The Financial Times reports seeing “a more assertive China” at the summit. And at least one paper’s conclusion from Copenhagen is: “China won, the world lost.”

But did China really win? It kept the Kyoto agreement intact and avoided binding cuts, both of which helped to secure China’s policy maneuverability and economic growth prospects. Nevertheless, Chinese obstructionism–which included peculiar tactics like failing to show up to a meeting with President Obama–still carries significant costs.

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