Plant a tree… for Mao…

Our comrades from Beijing’s People’s Daily give us this account of the “Millenium Assessment” report from the UN contending that around 60% of the world’s eco-system is in grave danger of permanent degradation as a result of human activity; China evidently pledges to build a more sustainable society. On cue, Chinese President Hu Jin-tao, on the occasion of the equivalent of Chinese Arbor Day, told the Chinese people that it was their duty to live in harmony with nature as he participated in a tree planting in Beijing.
I have heard it suggested that it is most unlikely there would be enough copper in the world to wire China for telephones (at least by copper wire) in the same manner that the United States is so wired (throw in India, and this supposition is twice as likely!) So, China moves ahead with wireless and fibre-optic and other technologies, as do many heretofore “developing nations” that allows them, in some instances, to pass even American standards in some communications (and other high-tech) applications, even whihle using less energy and natural resources than we, in the process, at least on a per capita basis. And this is good– because, as noted, there just aren’t enough resources in the world for some of their likely demands.
In short, as the emerging Asian superpowers (China and India) develop, they will, of necessity, put extreme pressure on their domestic resources, and demand the world’s natural resources at unprecedented rates (the two nations having around 3-4 times the combined populations of the United States, Western Europe and Japan). While schemes such as the Kyoto Protocols leave much to be desired, American arrogance and refusing to take a leadership role in world environmental matters will, most likely, result in less American control over our future fate than more.
As I like to remind us, we owe our overlords in Beijing lots of money; they hold huge surpluses against us in trade, and in terms of buying our government debt. It is inevitable that, at some point, the Chinese will exercise their leverage to make sure we don’t destroy their environment. Maybe they will end up making us do the right thing. Or maybe they will do so in a way we might consider “heavy-handed”.
Who knows? I tend to think of American official global environmental attitudes (which, btw, are probably opposed by the huge majority of Americans, but since, unlike oil companies, the ‘average person’ doesn’t employ lobbyists) to be as self-defeating as drilling a hole in the bottom of a life-boat. But what do I know?