Friday, March 09, 2007

China's Environmental Blame Game

The rapidly approaching Olympic Games have brought an unwelcome spotlight on China’s environmental situation.Beijingwon its Olympics bid with the promise of the world’s first “green” games. Five years later, there is no talk of a green Olympics, only of how extensive a shutdown of industry and transportation will be needed in Beijing and surrounding provinces just to ensure that the athletes can breathe.
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Last month the International Energy Agency announced that China would probably surpass the United States as the world’s largest contributor of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 2009, more than a full decade earlier than anticipated. This forecast could spur China to adopt tough new energy and environmental standards, but it probably won’t. China has already embarked on a very different strategy to manage its environmental reputation: launching a political campaign that lays much of the blame for the country’s mounting environmental problems squarely on the shoulders of foreigners and, in particular, multinational companies.

China’s leaders are tapping into anti-foreign and nationalist sentiments to deflect attention from their own failures.
When a Chinese nongovernmental organization released a list of 2,700 companies cited for violations of China’s water regulations in late October, the ensuing media frenzy focused exclusively on the 33 multinationals

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