(3 of 3)
But that window of opportunity is closing rapidly. Every step forward that these countries take today (such as China's move to make its auto-emission regulations stricter than the U.S.'s) risks being swamped by growth tomorrow (for example, China could have 140 million cars on the road by 2020). What China and India really need to ensure green development is what the world needs: a broadly accepted post-Kyoto pact that is strict enough to make it economically worthwhile to eliminate carbon emissions. Though actual cuts are off the table for now, Beijing and New Delhi seem willing to discuss softer targets, such as lowering carbon intensity. But they feel that Washington must take the lead. "It is possible for these countries to achieve the growth they deserve without wrecking the climate," says Diringer. "They just can't do it on their own. It has to go through the U.S."
Maybe we can begin by living a bit more like the average Chinese or Indian--before they start living like us.