Party Mouth Piece

By Bryan • china • 19 Dec 2006

Sometimes I’ll browse through the China Daily website in search of…well…not a hell of a lot. Today wasn’t special, except for the discovery of this nugget of state controlled media.


China has been one of most effective nations in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as outlined in the Tokyo Protocol, a senior environmental official said yesterday.

Since the beginning of this year, China’s reduction has been more than 40 per cent of the total reduction of the 40 countries involved in the Clean Development Mechanism of the Tokyo Protocol, according to Lu Xuedu, deputy director-general of the office of global environmental affairs at the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In the 21st century world where Climate Change is household word, and election issue in many countries and could possibly be the greatest challenge known to mankind, the statement that you are the world leader in greenhouse gas reductions is a big fracking claim. Actually, it wasn’t so much that this article originated from China Daily, but rather the hilarious typo encountered in the first paragraph that questioned this articles credibility by a light year. Tokyo, should probably be Kyoto. Quite possibly an honest mistake however, being the guy that I am, I thought I’d give China Daily the benefit of the doubt…perhaps there is such an entity known as the Tokyo protocol. However, a quick answers.com search revealed that my initial thoughts were correct, and there is not a Tokyo Protocol.

I’m going to make the rather large claim that this was tossed on some dudes desk by the government media officer. No checks, no questioning. Just print it. Better throw numbers in there too, no one will notice, and claim the reductions is 100% the result of our work.

Twisted, twisted, twisted.

A Clean Development Mechanism Credit is equivalent to a reduction of one tonne of CO2, and is generated when a developed nation invests in emission reducing projects in a developed country as an alternative to what is generally considered more costly emission reductions in their own countries. Another odd item about this article is the statement that the reductions are credited to China, when in fact all emission reduction units are credited to the investing developed country. Furthermore, credits can only be given to the developed country if the project is something that would not have been under normal circumstances been funded by the developing country.

The article is totally backwards! The reduction credits were generated in China, with the cooperation of the Chinese government in developing projects they never would have developed in the first place. The credits don’t belong to China, as stated, they belong to which ever country sunk the money into such projects and as such, are used as a credit in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. What China gains is cleaner air, electricity, and safer mines (as the majority of such projects are often mine-methane electricity generation projects). I suppose the claim China has been one of most effective nations in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is partially correct as they offer the most opportunities for foreign countries to reduce their own emissions.

To cover my ass…I will claim that I do not “hate”China, and that improvements to the environment are being made (I’ve seen them myself in Nanjing) however, there is a serious problem with the media in this country. When something as simple and trivial as a environmental report is so heavily skewed and spinned, then one is only has to guess to the extent of journalistic dishonesty that is being printed and eaten throughout China.

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3 Responses

  1. Hey Bryan,

    Did a paper a while back and remembered something about a Tokyo Protocol. Apparently it was related to the development of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)1992. I could not find any of the specific targets or objectives or any info for that matter, on the Tokyo Protocol-just that it was in existence.
    Perhaps this is why it appeared in the article that you read; a legitimate reference to a completely obscure set of objectives. Anyway just wanted to let you know that it was out there, although I doubt this does anything to lessen your frustration towards the media in China. http://www.unep.org/dpdl/Law/Programme_work/Devt_international_law/devt_meas.

  2. Fraser

    Well, freedom of speech must be getting better… I keep expecting your site to get shut down after posts like this…

  3. Bryan

    Yup, it’s there. Shot my mouth off to soon! Thanks for keeping it honest man.

    But even after digging around for about 30 minutes I still can’t seem to find decent brief of what the Tokyo Protocol actually is. Very obscure.

    I’m small enough to go under the net police radar…besides, no one reads this site anyway and even if they did, my status as a foreigner automatically nulls my opinions and comments! Nothin’ to worry about!

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