Lea Lai's action

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As Barack Obama, the new President of United States, said, “as we develop new forms of clean energy here at home, we will share our technology and our innovations with all the nations of the world. If we can build a clean coal plant in America, China should be able to as well[1]." He pointed out that an important element of a clean energy future is international cooperation, especially with China. In this case, I suggest one of “the 100 Days of Action” could be to write an article for chinadialogue[2], which is a popular website in China with both English and Chinese discussions on environmental issues. This article will provide guidance and suggestions for China to shift to a clean energy future. The main goal of the National Teach-In is to get everyone involved in making clean energy solutions for global warming[3]. To build a grassroots movement, we need to create a large amount of people concerning on environmental problems. To solve global warming, then we need to focus on international cooperation on climate change policy. In this case, China is a perfect country to focus on, since it not only has the largest population in the world but also has a great potential to replace the United States to become the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter as early as 2009.[4] Therefore, helping China drive towards a clean-energy future could help National Teach-in achieve its goal.

Addressing Chinese environmental problems should start with communication. First, it is very important to improve Chinese citizens’ consciousness of using environmental friendly products. It is not easy for Western countries to spread environmental information to Chinese people, since most Chinese don’t know English very well. If we only write the articles in English and publish them on English websites, it won’t help Chinese citizens to get involved in the climate movement. Therefore, I think if we publish the articles on websites like chinadialogue, it could be a productive way for Chinese people access our information on the climate movement.

Once we have a proper media source to make contact with Chinese people, we can focus on advocating them to adopt an environmentally-friendly life-style. The main idea of environmentally-friendly life-style is green consumption. Green consumption is relative to the 5R’s concept: reduce, re-evaluate, reuse, recycle and rescue. These principles encourage people to reduce domestic pollution, to purchase green products, to use energy efficiently, to recycle waste and to preserve species. These ideas might be simple, but they are easy for people to understand and to use to take action. The Chinese population is about 1.3billion, which means even if we only can spread our idea of an environmentally-friendly life-style to 1% of them, it could change 1.3 million peoples' consumption. Individuals’ spending habits would have a huge impact to the market, even strong enough to restructure the whole domestic economy.

In order to make this action successful, we need to first contact the editor of chinadialogue to make sure that we can post our proposal on the website in both English and Chinese. Then we should communicate with our best ally, the Chinese citizens, by publishing our action ideas from "100 Days of Action" on their website. Chinese government has taken a wait-and-see approach in the climate change issue and refuse to make a commitment of reducing greenhouse gases emissions unless developed countries like the United States confirm their own responsibility to make this commitment[5]. To make the clean-energy transition, we need to convince as many people as possible to adopt green consumption practies. Their market force will cause an increase in demand for green products, which will ultimately restructure the economy so that more environmentally-friendly products are produced. In this way, the government will agree to set up series of policies to protect our environment since the business stops acting as an impediment to the climate movement. With the financial and political support from the Chinese government, more national technologies will be applied into producing renewable energy to build a clean energy future.



Notes

  1. Obama News & Speechs, Portsmouth, NH, October 08, 2007http://www.barackobama.com/2007/10/08/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_28.php
  2. For more details, please visit http://www.chinadialogue.net/.
  3. National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions, Focus on the First 100 Days, http://www.nationalteachin.org/
  4. International Energy Agency News,Nov 16, 2007, www.thaindian.com/newsportal/tag/international-energy-agency
  5. For China, the Shift to Climate-Friendly Energy Depends on International Collaboration, by Jeffrey Logan, Joanna Lewis, and Michael B. Cummings, published in the January/February 2007 issue of Boston Review