As a student and follower of Environmental Policy, China is always a hot topic. In the COP 15 negotiations much attention was paid to the fact that China is not “willing” to be held to binding law of carbon reductions with MRV, to many it seemed that with its bustling economy it should be able to agree to such laws. One of the many reasons I wanted to come to China was to see firsthand what hinders China, and possibly other emerging countries from being able to agree to such binding targets.
Well, behind all the gleaming windows and marble columns of Beijing lies a very gritty hard reality. From my time here I have seen that while there may be a bustling economy that straddles between the old communist regime and more western ideals of economy, there lies many issues. China is a country that has seen much poverty while the western world has seen growth and wealth, with the rise of a more capitalistic ideal there has been great improvements, famine looks to be a thing of the past, but a country cannot just magically alleviate all its problems so quickly, it takes time, and for now a fragile economic rise exists. This fragileness is where the problem lies andit is something that is masked behind the outward growth of the large cities. Yet it only takes a short train ride to see what most of China still looks like, beautiful, poor and on the cusp.
I joined this program to see the truth and in the short time allotted I have seen and heard much of what I was looking for. How do we ask the developing nations of the world to stop environmental degradation if we do not give them the tools to do so. For all the outward projection of wealth does not mean that they are capable or at least that there would not be great suffering and loss. As an American being asked to make sacrifices would typically mean losing a luxury or atworst cutting back a little on a necessity that I most likely consume in excess. For the average Chinese person it would mean forgoing an already scarce necessity. I am not saying that there is not excess or that I agree with where they are going, no in fact I see Beijing as going in the wrong direction, not learning from our mistakes, but still it is clear that much of their issues could be solved with more cooperation on our part.
I can’t describe all that I have experienced, nor do I want to, much of what I have seen are things that I want to keep privet, sharing only with my friends and classmates, but I can say that I have loved being in China. In fact I had tried change my plane ticket to stay longer and keep on working at my internship, of which I love, but I can’t, there are more people trying to come and go than there are flights, so I will have to say goodbye to China for now. It is a country that I have fallen for and hope to come back to in the near future.